Related: Reliability key

In late 1999, as Networkcar began building its application infrastructure, it purchased BEA WebLogic Server 5.1 on the advice of consulting firm SAIC. San Diego-based Networkcar is a three-year-old company that offers a Web-based application for collecting real-time automotive diagnostic data and delivering it to dealers, car owners, fleets and insurance carriers.

The decision to go with WebLogic came after a run-off with IBM's WebSphere, according to Wade Williams, a software engineer in the company's four-person Web development group.

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»4. Reliability key
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Ease of installation and quality of documentation were favorable characteristics that led to the WebLogic choice. BEA was ranked high for its overall quality, scalability and level of support.

The following year, Networkcar converted to WebLogic Server 6.1 because that version had built-in XML-based Web services capability. "When we were using 5.1, we hand-rolled our own [Web services] using JSP and Servlet [APIs]," said Williams. "Those Web services allowed another company's server to grab data from our servers, so we could pass XML documents back to them for parsing. It worked like a champ, but it was not convenient, nor were they true Web services."

For Williams, the most critical feature of WebLogic Server is its reliability. "Your Web system's got to be stable, that's number one," he said. Although WebLogic Server is the only BEA product used by Networkcar, the company is looking at WebLogic Server 7.0 and is also evaluating the beta release of the WebLogic Workshop development environment.