IBM plans to introduce a servlet development tools bundle in October aimed at users wanting to build ecommerce applications to run on its WebSphere Internet application server.
Servlets are Java applets that run on servers rather than client machines, and enable users to connect Java Beans together to make a database-ready Java application.
Jeff Barnett, IBM?s product marketing manager for Internet software, said: ?Developers can already build WebSphere applications with third party development tools and our Visual Age tools, but we wanted to put tools together that were optimised for a servlet environment and were packaged and priced attractively. WebSphere is a servlet engine that plugs into our own and third party HTTP servers that provide static information, but WebSphere enables you to introduce dynamic servlets, which are more suited to ecommerce environments.?
As a result, version 1.0 Big Blue?s WebSphere Studio will include servlet wizards that can generate Java servlet logic. These are aimed at programmers who are not skilled in Java.
Such developers can use the wizard to find out what a given third party Java Bean is capable of doing, generate a servlet to call the Bean or JDBC database, and then wrapper it in HTML so it can be accessed via a browser. This enables them to assemble a range of disparate Java Beans into a database application.
The tools suite also includes a Web Development Workbench for project management and content integration, the NetObjects ScriptBuilder for HTML text editing, the NetObjects Fusion design and authoring tool and NetObjects BeanBuilder for assembling client-based Java Beans into applications.
Visual Age for Java is also incorporated for Java developers wanting to build their own Java applets and Beans from scratch, while third party tools such as image editors can also be integrated into the environment. The suite will come with an additional developer-only version of WebSphere Application Server, which will be free of charge to encourage programmers to experiment with the product.
However, to deploy a WebSphere Application, users will need to buy a runtime environment for $795, and WebSphere Studio itself will cost $495, running under Windows NT and Windows 95 and 98.
IBM also plans to come out with version 1.1 of WebSphere Application Server in October, an offering it describes as the cornerstone of its entire Web strategy. The product runs under Windows NT, Solaris and AIX, will include an Apache HTTP server and Lotus Domino Go WebServer, support XML document structure services and incorporate an XML parser to enable users to work with XML-based documents.
An additional, separately priced Performance Pack will also be released at the same time, which includes load balancing software, a caching proxy server to improve information access time and reduce network traffic, and an enterprise file system, which enables files located anywhere on the network to appear under a single system image.
OS/390 and OS/400 versions of WebSphere that do not include Apache will also be available online in October free of charge and the product will be integrated for the first time into the next version of OS/2 Warp, codenamed Aurora, which is due to go into beta in the fourth quarter. It will also be integrated into version 2.7 of OS.390, when this ships in the first quarter of next year.
In a bid to make WebSphere even more prolific, however, the product will be included in all new versions of the company?s software suites (see Newswire 9 February, 1998), which it is pitching head on against Microsoft?s Back Office bundle of products.
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