IBM has announced a set of tools to bring existing enterprise applications to the Web.
The suite, called Visual Age E-business, is built around Visual Age for Java, the integrated development environment for Java that IBM first shipped in July. It adds a large number of components, some originating from its Lotus and Net Objects subsidiaries, and most previously available separately or in other bundles.
Visual Age E-business was introduced at a London press conference that coincided with the opening of the Java 97 exhibition. At the briefing, IBM officials took turns in expressing the extent of the company's commitment to Java. IBM's Emea region vice president for software, Simon Dyson, said : "Java is central to everything we do to make e-business a reality".
Scott Hebner, marketing manager for application development, said: "A lot of the tools out there today are for development 'from the Web up'. But the real value is in extending existing, core business applications to the Web." He said Visual Age E-business contains all the tools needed to create and manage Web sites that incorporate business logic and that integrate with existing back end systems such as Cics transactions.
As well as the Visual Age for Java development environment, the e-business suite also includes the developer edition of IBM's DB/2 Universal Database and the Lotus Go Web server, which is based on a scaled-down Lotus Notes. Other components are Net Objects Fusion, a Web design tool that generates HTML; Lotus Bean Machine, a graphical tool that offers code-free development by combining existing Java Bean components; Webrunner, a subscription service that offers reusable Java Beans and productivity tools; and the Netscape Navigator browser.
Web-enabled applications developed with Visual Age E-business will be able to run on the supplied Go Web Server, as well as on the full blown Lotus Domino or other Web servers. They will be able to access any database that supports JDBC. The suite will also provide tools to access DB2 Universal Database natively, allowing developers to make use of the database's extensible data types.
Visual Age E-business is available immediately on Windows 95 and Windows NT. It is priced at $2,499. Unix versions of the various components in the suite are currently in development. IBM plans to release the suite for AIX, Solaris and HP/UX in the course of 1998.
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