Web tools developer Allaire is pushing into the overcrowded ecommerce and content management software market with the launch of its new software package, Spectra.
Aimed at companies wanting to build and manage their Web based content, Spectra is an add-on package for Allaire's Coldfusion applications server.
Spectra also includes ecommerce software, such as credit card authorisation and personalisation software to pitch information to users based on their specified interests.
Allaire will compete with heavyweights such as Microsoft and IBM, which is rebuilding its Net.Commerce software to lie on top of its Websphere application server. It also competes with smaller rivals such as ATG, which has married its ecommerce personalisation tools with its Dynamo application server.
Philip Costa, senior industry analyst at Giga Information Group, said that Allaire's biggest advantage is its brand name and Coldfusion's market penetration.
"There are thousands of people building sites using Coldfusion who are already comfortable with that environment. Some 90 per cent of the Fortune 1000 have some Coldfusion somewhere. It was one of the earliest dynamic Web site generating tools," he said.
Allaire has other market advantages, Costa said, including that: "It will not be difficult for those companies to upgrade to the Spectra add-on. Name recognition is important, plus the company has just gone public."
Spectra uses Extensible Markup Language (XML) in its object database, which assists in its overall content management function, said a company spokesperson.
Costa said: "XML is not unique, but it is important they have that, because it is the market trend."
Spectra, which is now in beta, will ship in early October prices at $7,495 per server. European pricing and availability is still to be announced.
IDC's recent report on Programmer Development Tools said that companies were willing to spend significant amounts on rapid Web application development tools because they believed the Internet was such an important channel. This created a significant market opportunity for the relatively small number of vendors in that space, it concluded.
"Despite the immaturity of Java, many IRAD vendors have been successful at delivering surprisingly complete development environments that attempt to include everything needed to develop, deploy, integrate, and manage Web based application development," the report said.
Spectra has been designed to bind together different functions within organisations - Web presentation development, ecommerce strategy, content generation, portal design and personalised customer relations.
The Allaire environment of Spectra, Coldfusion and visual development tools is designed to allow individuals other than dedicated application developers a chance to control content. For example, business line managers have access to a set of Web based tools in Spectra for managing workflows, security roles and content.
The company said Spectra is designed to unite content, commerce and customer interaction capabilities into a common model for enterprise wide Web systems.
Core services of Spectra include: content management - designing the content, logic, presentation and delivery of Web sites; workflow and process automation; roles based security; personalisation and business intelligence - tracking, measuring and reporting on activities in a Web business.
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