TransactNet's Web Interface Toolkit
Wed, 16 Oct 1996 19:02:53 -0400

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Anyone care to do a more detailed investigation? This looks like a
promising story to tell. Note the emergence of WIDL to describe the
interface to a web service.

I agree that this is the first of a new generation of web-automation

Rohit Khare

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TransactNet - Products

About TransactNet Products Services & Support News Demos

WIT -- Because the Web  is not just for browsers. Rated Top 1% WebApplet by JARS

"Browsing is an obvious idea, but it is not necessarily the right one. Other computer programs will do the browsing for us ... pages will need more and more computer-readable hooks."

Nicholas Negroponte, WIRED 4.05

Introducing WIT, The Web Interface Toolkit

The WIT Web Interface Toolkit is the first and only Java development tool providing easy programmatic access to Web data and services -- with or without a browser.

With an integrated toolset of class libraries and code generators, WIT enables Java developers to painlessly develop applications that access static and dynamic Web pages -- on the Internet and on corporate Intranets. And since WIT is fully Java-powered, it runs on any platform sporting a Java Development Kit (JDK).

The Essence of WIT
The Application of WIT
The Benefits of WIT
What WIT is NOT
Getting WIT
WIT Technical Description
Web Interface Definition Language
Components of WIT
More Information

Follow the links above to learn more about this revolutionary new Java-powered Web development tool, or download now and start developing with WIT.

The Essence of WIT

Ever thought about how great it would be to have your applications interacting with Web servers on the corporate Intranet, or on the other side of the world? But you've been daunted by thoughts of all that CGI programming, and having to parse HTML yourself. Right?

Imagine being able to easily build powerful Java applets or standalone applications that reach across the network and access any element of any Web page, anywhere. Or how about quickly creating client programs that interact with CGI and other server-based Web programs, to get at dynamically generated Web pages containing data from corporate databases.

What if your application could access (say) a Web stock quote service with just a single line of Java code? Something like:

	StockQuote myQuote = new StockQuote("SUNW");

With WIT, you can ... proving the soul of WIT really is brevity!

WIT turns conventional Web application development wisdom on its head: instead of making applications available to the Web, WIT makes the Web available to applications.

Think about it: most business processes are automated, and most business-to-business electronic commerce is program-to-program. Trying to funnel all of it through manually operated browser programs just doesn't make sense.

The Application of WIT

Make WIT work for you - it's easy, and the possibilities are limitless. Here are just a few ways you can use WIT now.

Unlock the Intranet!

IS departments can use WIT to gain defined and controlled access to rapidly evolving Web data on corporate Intranets. WIT provides the bridge between conventional business applications and the fast-evolving mix of data and services springing up on corporate Intranets.

Internet Integration

Safe and controlled integration of external Web-based services (e.g., order and package tracking) with internal business processes now becomes possible. See for yourself -- check out our TrackBot universal package-tracking demo for a compelling example of how this can work in your environment.

Simple yet Robust Foundation for Web Client/Server Applications

Client programs generated with WIT can communicate with any back-end server programs, written in any language ... C, C++, Perl, Tcl, Java, whatever! And WIT programs are fully compatible with all major Web server API standards, such as CGI, Netscape NSAPI, and Microsoft ISAPI.

Server-to-Server Linkages

Your back-end Web programs can now invoke the services offered by other Web servers.

The Benefits of WIT

What's in it for me, you ask? How about:

Easy Programmatic Access to Web Data and Services

An integrated HTML 3.2 parser eliminates the need for hand-coded HTML parsing, and an HTTP access library handles all details of HTTP and CGI communications.

Data and Location Independence

Directory service and data mapping capabilities insulate WIT-generated Java programs from changes in the location and format of HTML documents. In most cases it's not even necessary to recompile. You can transparently relocate your own services to different servers for load balancing. Or painlessly switch service providers for generic services such as Web search, stock quotes and package tracking.

Leverage the Investment in Your Intranet

All that information stashed away in HTML on your internal Web servers could be working for you. It should be accessible from something other than just your Web browser.

This all adds up to lower Web application development costs, higher productivity, and new capabilities that were previously too costly or otherwise out of reach.

And unlike other Web application development tools, WIT is based solely upon the open standards of the Web itself: HTML, HTTP and Java. So your Web development investment is protected against proprietary lock-in.

What WIT is NOT

Sometimes it's easier to describe a product in terms of what it is not. WIT is not:

An Offline Browser

Applications built with WIT can certainly run "offline" on a server or as a standalone application. However, WIT applications retrieve specific data elements within a Web page for further processing. Offline browsers load down complete Web pages for later perusal by an end user with a regular browser.

A Java Development Environment

While WIT generates Java classes, and provides editing facilities for the text files it works with, it does not provide programming tools such as a debugger, full source code editor or compiler. It does work very well together with Symantec Cafe and other JDE products.

An HTML Screen-Scraper or "Web-Scraper"

HTML output is highly structured. Because WIT includes a built-in HTML parser, WIT is able to understand and exploit this structure - as well as any browser can. Furthermore, with WIT, HTML documents can be fully self-describing. This makes comparisons with so-called screenscrapers invalid.

A Threat to Content Providers

See Notes for Webmasters if you're curious about this.


The beta release is available for download now, and is free for evaluation and other non-commercial use. The WIT 1.0 production release will be available in December.

For commercial use, the WIT SitePak is available immediately, and offers a flexible package of site license, training and support, plus a full year of upgrades (including the December production release).

Options for unbundled and unsupported product licenses will be announced prior to the production release.


Since WIT itself is fully Java-powered, it runs on all platforms for which the Java Development Kit is available, including Windows95/NT, Solaris, AIX, Linux and Macintosh.

WIT requires version 1.0.2 of the JDK. (It also runs tolerably well on the Linux JDK 1.0.1 port.)

If you don't have the JDK installed on your system, you can obtain it for Windows95/NT and Solaris at They also have links to the JDK on other platforms.

Getting WIT

Go ahead - download it now! For a limited time, it's free ... subject to our licensing terms, of course.

More Information

Want to know more? Take a look at any or all of the following.

WIT Technical Description
WIT Tutorial
WIT Reference Manual

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