[CNET] IBM advances Web services strategy with a free version of Websphere

From: Adam Rifkin (Adam@KnowNow.Com)
Date: Thu Mar 15 2001 - 21:59:36 PST

IBM is going to give away the new version of its WebSphere app server to
devs for free. Wow. "It's going to be easier to screw up and write bad


IBM advances Web services strategy
By Mary Jo Foley
Special to CNET News.com
March 14, 2001, 4:00 a.m. PT
IBM announced Wednesday the next phase of its Web services game plan.

Big Blue is shipping a new version of its WebSphere application
server--fortified with support for the leading Web services protocols and
standards--that it plans to make available to developers for free.

As the battle for developer mind share in the Web services market is heating
up, each of the major software companies is attempting to play to its
strength. In IBM's case, that means its middleware Internet infrastructure
software and related development tools.

"This is the first application server to deliver all of the major Web
services" in a single package, said Scott Hebner, IBM director of marketing
for WebSphere software. "It is an investment we're making to get the
developers the platform sooner."

Giga Information Group analyst Mike Gilpin agreed with Hebner's assessment.
"IBM is really the first to (make generally available) tools like these that
are needed for Web services to take off," Gilpin said.

Gilpin added that widely available tools, such as those in IBM's WebSphere
Technology for Developers release, will likely take the pain and expense out
of hand-coded Web services. Most existing payment, insurance and travel Web
services have been built by hand from scratch, Gilpin said.

WebSphere Technology for Developers includes built-in support for XML
(Extensible Markup Language); UDDI (Universal Description and Discovery
Integration) standard; SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol); WSDL (Web
Services Description Language); and J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition)

XML is the new lingua franca of the Web, designed to make sharing data
easier. UDDI acts like a Yellow Pages for Web services by exposing them and
helping developers to locate them. SOAP is an emerging standard for
distributed computing interoperability. WSDL is an XML format aimed at
improving Web services messaging-interoperability technology. And J2EE is a
standard technology for developing and launching enterprise applications.

Gartner analyst Massimo Pezzini says that although several application
service vendors have committed to supporting Web services in their J2EE
platforms, Big Blue's announcement makes it the first to deliver a product.
 see commentary

WebSphere Technology for Developers, a developer must be "referred" to IBM
as a potential WebSphere customer by either an IBM salesperson or an IBM
partner. Developers can contact IBM for a referral.

IBM announced the WebSphere release in conjunction with its weeklong
WebSphere 2001 trade show in Las Vegas. IBM also announced on Wednesday
availability of a version of its WebSphere Internet infrastructure software
that has been written to run on its eServer z900 and OS/390 mainframes.

All of the leading tech vendors, including IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Sun
Microsystems and BEA Systems, are pushing their own technologies as the
premier vehicles for individuals and companies interested in writing and
running Web services.

IBM does not have an umbrella term, such as Microsoft's .Net or Sun's Sun
ONE, that it uses to describe its Web services initiative. But the company
is emphasizing its middleware and development tools as the crux of its Web
services development business.

Microsoft, for its part, is building Microsoft.Net software-as-a-service
technologies into its development tools, operating systems and applications.
The company also is repackaging its Web-based applications--such as its
Hotmail e-mail service, Passport Internet authentication technology and MSN
Messenger instant messaging client--as horizontal Web services building
blocks code-named Hailstorm. Microsoft is expected to announce Hailstorm on
March 19.

As companies such as Microsoft, IBM and others manage to get Web services
development tools more widely circulated, one possible new danger could
emerge, Giga's Gilpin said.

"It's going to be easier to screw up and write bad services," he cautioned.
"But that's true whenever you first get a set of new tools widely into the
hands of developers."


I thought Microsoft could have just blown everybody away when I went to their .Net rollout in July, and I thought, God, in 10 minutes they could have explained to everybody in a very concise way why this was the wave of the future. But they didn’t do that. I don’t think Microsoft is focused on that. They’re looking for a revolution in their company more than they’re looking for new tech for users. .Net is a solution for their problems, not our problems. -- Dave Winer, http://www.internetworld.com/031501/03.15.01interview1.jsp

It's mesmerizing! I can't stop watching it! (What is it? Time will tell, my friends. Time will tell...) -- Evan Williams, http://www.evhead.com/?archive=2001_03_01_ev.xml#2795352

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