Integrators Ready ODBC, EDI Connectors

WebMethods, nimble to unveil products based on ODBC, EDI.

Webmethods inc. and Nimble Technology Inc. are readying offerings that will enable companies to more easily tap data sources in the enterprise and at partners sites.

Upcoming integration software and service bundles from WebMethods and an upgrade to Nimbles namesake Integration Suite will let enterprises make connections between older ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) and EDI (electronic data interchange) technologies and newer XML-based technologies.

WebMethods, of Fairfax, Va., this month will introduce a program in which it bundles its EDI Adaptor with its namesake Integration Platform and with professional services. The bundles, the first of which will be for retailers, will enable companies to more easily introduce EDI data into the rest of their IT infrastructure by translating EDI flat files to an XML format, officials said.

The bundles will also let enterprises maintain an existing EDI infrastructure for their bigger suppliers while presenting a Web- and XML-based face for transactions with smaller, less technically sophisticated suppliers.

Separately, Version 2.0 of Nimble Integration Suite, which will ship this week, will let companies search and manage data across multiple databases, including those residing behind a partners firewall, using ODBC or emerging XQuery interfaces.

It also provides new access to LDAP data, support for Crystal Decisions Inc.s Crystal Reports and Microsoft Corp.s Excel, and an enhanced Concordance Developer engine that rationalizes the ways similar data is described in different databases, said Nimble officials in Seattle.

Logistics provider USCO Logistics, a unit of Kuehne & Nagel International AG, is evaluating Nimble Integration Suite to build a portal to give inventory status to internal and external customers.

Vice President of Product Development Rod Franklin said he believes XML will one day enable his business to provide more real-time access to inventory data, but that would require the replacement of existing technology at his company and at the thousands of companies that use his services.

"Were a huge international company, and I can count on one hand the number of people who do XML," Franklin said. "Im a firm believer that XML is a wave of the future, but it took 20 years to get EDI where it is. People in business are more conservative than tech gurus would like, and they are not going to throw that investment [in EDI and ODBC] away."