WebMethods Portal Includes Developer Tools

WebMethods' new portal has a composite application development environment.

A new portal from enterprise application integration software developer WebMethods Inc. acts as a front end to applications, business processes and other information.

Along with providing security and content management capabilities that portals traditionally offer, WebMethods Portal, which became available late last month, is a composite application development environment, said company officials, in Fairfax, Va.

The term "composite applications" was coined two years ago when German software developer SAP AG announced its xApps software and Composite Application Framework. So-called composite applications are built by combining functions from different sources within a technology stack.

Integration technology enables the composite application to aggregate specific tasks or processes into a single, new application.

As part of its composite application development environment, WebMethods Portal, which was built using Web services standards, brings additional development tools. A Wizard-based portlet generation tool combined with the companys drag-and-drop page designer capability allows the portal to be configured from the user interface—a feature that nullifies the programming approach of some other portal development tools, WebMethods officials said.

The portal integrates with additional WebMethods software, including the companys Integration Platform, Workflow and Optimize software. The workflow capability provides for business process modeling that takes into account the human steps in a given process. Optimize, on the other hand, provides business activity monitoring capabilities for real-time event collection, analysis and correlations.

In October, WebMethods went on a buying spree, purchasing The Mind Electric Inc., for its Web services platform; DataChannel Inc., for its portal technology; and The Dante Group Inc., for its real-time BAM and enterprise event management software. Combining The Mind Electrics GLUE development and DataChannels portal technologies with its existing integration offerings provided WebMethods with its composite application development framework, according to Shawn Willett, an analyst at Current Analysis Inc., in Sterling, Va.

"All the things they purchased in October were missing pieces," said Willett. WebMethods is "definitely moving in the right direction. ... I dont think WebMethods has any illusions that theyre going to be a pure-play portal player. ... [The portal] is more part of their composite application environment."