IBM plans to start shipping the Enterprise Java Beans (EJB) version of its SanFrancisco application templates by the middle of next year and is setting up a Web brokering service to sell compliant third party objects.
The templates are aimed at ISVs in the small to medium-sized business market and are written mainly in Java, but some C++ code is currently included to deal with areas where Java performance is weak such as database access.
SanFrancisco comprises Foundation Business Objects or the plumbing, Common Business Objects such as address, customer or currency, and Business Process Components such as general ledger or accounts payable and receivable. These supply between 60-70 per cent of the functionality ISVs need to write an application, but the rest is customised for individual companies or sectors.
An IBM spokesman said: ?Users will be able to stay with SanFrancisco classic if they want or move to EJB incrementally. We?ll start migrating the common business objects over to EJBs first and processes will follow, but you?ll start to see things moving from mid 1999. You won?t need the foundation layer in future though, unless you want it, because you?ll be able to use our and third party EJB servers to run EJBs.?
He added that existing SanFrancisco APIs would be replaced by EJB APIs over time to enable applications to use both SanFrancisco and EJB components transparently in the same transaction.
The new version of the SanFrancisco Foundation will comprise three major elements. The EJB application server will be used to provide object services such as transactions, naming and persistence, and provide communication with Corba objects - if they are Corba-compliant.
The Foundation Class Library, supplied by IBM, will offer additional services that can be implemented on top of an EJB server such as abstract factories, while the Foundation Business Objects (FBOs) will provide abstract and concrete business components such as entity, time and translated text.
IBM plans to supply users with tools to help automate the conversion of SanFrancisco components to EJBs and to help them migrate their applications. It also intends to set up a Web site to broker business objects from third party suppliers, so that customers can find what they are looking for easily and pay for it via a credit card.
While Big Blue has focussed on providing frameworks for financial applications to date, it has just moved its warehousing and order management templates into beta and expects human resources, customer relationship management and payroll to follow.
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