Cincinnati consultant talks XML
- By Colleen Frye
A new product category emerging is the XML server. While it is a promising
new technology, it still represents a "roll-your-own" development experience
in comparison to established EDI.
"You could talk for hours about all the potential uses of XML," said
Bill Benjamin, vice president of business development at LANSA Inc., Oak
Brook, Ill., which markets a development platform for the AS/400. LANSA
is XML-enabling its product line for data integration between the AS/400
and other platforms, including PDAs, wireless phones and WebTV. The company
has embedded the IBM XML for Java Parser into its LANSA XML engine.
"With XML, the fact that you're putting intelligence into the data gives
you lots of opportunities," said Thom Davidson, vice president, consulting
and services at Rippe & Kingston, a Cincinnati software and consulting
company. Rippe & Kingston has been working with LANSA's beta release
of its XML engine, and is in the process of building XML capabilities
into Methos, LANSA's facilities maintenance management systems, as well
as e.ssential, a supply-chain solution resold by Infinium Software, Hyannis,
"We're able to take green-screen applications and with LANSA, have that
generate XML," said Davidson. "Now you have a Windows-type application
running over the Internet under Java. It's very appealing for use over
intranets or extranets. It carries other nice features: People can go
to multiple platforms, say if you want an iMac going against an AS/400
box. That's particularly attractive in the Infinium situation and with
Methos; you want to run applications over the Internet, but you want to
control the process of events. With XML, it allows us to do that."
Davidson and others also point to XML's potential to extend trading
partner applications to wireless devices. With XML, said Davidson, "you
have the ability of taking the same logic and control [you have with an
AS/400 application] and putting it into a non-traditional computing environment
like phones or vending machines. With XML, the guy writing the code doesn't
have to worry about how to work with this [non-traditional] environment."
With cell phone use predicted to grow into billions of users over the
next few years, IT managers will be required to address this platform,
said Bob Bickel, senior vice president, development, Bluestone Software,
Mt. Laurel, N.J. Those cell phone users "will need to be connected to
-- Colleen Frye
Colleen Frye is a freelance writer based in Bridgewater, Mass.