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Good News forWebLogic

Good News forWebLogic

I have two newsworthy items to talk about this month. One concerns the application server market; the other pertains to a newly announced partnership in the wireless space. Each tidbit dates from July, but as editorial schedules run a bit behind the times, I'll relay them to you now.

In my last editorial, "The BEA Slayer?", I mentioned that free application servers would not affect BEA, whether they are open source like JBoss, or bundled with hardware like the Sun ONE Server and HP's Application Server. Interestingly enough, about two weeks after my editorial went to the printer, HP announced it was leaving the application server market! A Reuters report said, "HP, which has been losing money in software, said in a statement it would focus on areas where it has had market success and intellectual property.... It is pulling the plug on three middleware platforms used to glue networks together, including the Bluestone application server platform." No kidding. You don't make money on free stuff! On to wireless stuff...

Moving into my new home last month, I did my share to boost the economy by purchasing wireless networking equipment for my home office. I like to think of it more as an office "home" because wireless technology allows me to work anywhere in the house. I also had the opportunity to talk wireless with Scott Dietzen, CTO of BEA, just before BEA eWorld 2002. The hot topic Scott had for me was this new development tool called "Cajun," now known as WebLogic Workshop. Its promise is to make developing Web services easier for the average developer, who doesn't care about the gory details of J2EE, SOAP, and other Web services standards.

I had two burning questions to ask Scott. First, "With Workshop becoming the new IDE of choice for Web services on WebLogic, where does WebGain fit into the picture?" Well, a look on TheServerSide.com will tell you what's happening there. Second, "Does BEA have any plans to incorporate wireless capabilities into WebLogic Server, or into Workshop?" WebLogic is already a great platform for WAP apps. Decks of WML cards can be dynamically generated, accessing back-end databases and middle-tier business logic. However, I want to see WYSIWYG WAP and J2ME (Java 2 Micro Edition) development. I want easy-to-use frameworks and the abstraction of standard data-synchronizing mechanisms like SyncML.

At the time, Scott was either not at liberty to talk about wireless partnerships, or he didn't anticipate how hot wireless vendors would be for Workshop. In any event, Research In Motion (RIM), a leading wireless company, and BEA announced their partnership to build an easy-to-use framework for delivering Web services to RIM's BlackBerry handhelds. The framework will integrate WebLogic Workshop and BlackBerry in a single environment, simplifying the development and testing of mobile apps.

Through their partnership, BEA and RIM are striving for an "always-on," "push" architecture for wireless applications. I have no idea what their plans from the handheld side will be, but my best guess is an all-Java solution. That means J2ME on the device. Although "push" isn't really a feature of J2ME 1.0, it could be added as a proprietary extension. It currently supports only a "pull" model, with the micro device polling for information at timed intervals.

No matter the application, WebLogic seems to be the solution, molding itself into the application infrastructure of today's global enterprises. Since the theme for this month's WLDJ is tools that make development and production environments easier, I hope you will also find tips and tools to make your current project(s) a breeze on WebLogic. Also this month, BEA debuts WebLogic Platform 7.0 with a full trial version CD included with this issue. See what thousands of development hours have produced.

More Stories By Jason Westra

Jason Westra is the CTO of Verge Technologies Group, Inc. (www.vergecorp.com). Verge is a Boulder, CO based firm specializing in eBusiness solutions with Enterprise JavaBeans.

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