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IBM And BEA Team For Easier-To-Use App Servers

The goal is for Java developers to be able to develop an application once and have it use the most advanced features of IBM's WebSphere or BEA's WebLogic.

IBM and BEA Systems Inc., the leaders in the application server market, are joining forces to make their products jointly easier to use with the same applications.

Enterprise Java developers will be able to develop an application once and have it use the most advanced features of IBM's WebSphere or BEA's WebLogic, say spokesmen for the companies. At the same time, third-party application providers, such as Siebel Systems Inc., will find it easier to gear one set of applications to both products.

"We want to simplify and make it easier for corporate developers who are not rocket scientists," says Ed Cobb, BEA's VP of architecture and standards.

Both of the Java application-server companies are aware of the ease-of-use factor that appears to favor Microsoft and its .Net technologies and are trying to make Java more competitive with .Net. By standardizing how they do some of the more complicated functions in Java, the two hope to encourage "more third-party tools for easier development," Cobb says.

IBM and BEA are jointly specifying how they will handle data from heterogeneous data sources, such as XML data sources, relational databases, and Web services. Their specification for doing so is called Service Data Objects, and will be submitted to the Java Community Process for consideration as a Java 2 Enterprise Edition standard.

They also will specify a simple API that will let an enterprise programmer schedule the concurrent work of a variety of applications running on one application server. The Work Manager for Application Servers specification would make it easier to manage applications for throughput and improved response times, says Rod Smith, VP of Internet and emerging technologies in IBM's software group.

A third specification will make it easier for programmers to set timers in an application server, which may determine how long certain processes run or send timer-notification messages, another factor in getting application performance on a running application server. The specification is called Timer for Application Servers, Cobb says.

The specifications and an accompanying white paper are available at technologies/ commonj/ index.jsp or developerworks/ library/ j-commonj-sdowmt/ .

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