In-Depth

BEA rolls out RAD tool at eWorld

[MARCH 4, 2002] - Alfred Chuang, chief executive of BEA Systems, launched his company's seventh annual developer conference, eWorld, last week with the unveiling of a brand spanking new Java RAD tool for Web services to an audience in San Diego.

The BEA moves prompted officials from some competitors, including IBM and Sun Microsystems, to downplay the significance of the BEA moves in unsolicited calls and e-mails to journalists. BEA officials maintained that the new tools marked a new generation of technology for developers, while competitors maintain the tools from those firms offer an advantage to developers.

Code-named "Cajun," and billed by BEA officials as a first-of-its-kind software framework, the new WebLogic Workshop is designed to "enable developers at virtually all skill levels to create enterprise-class Web services applications without understanding the complexities of Java and J2EE," Chuang said.

"The essence of BEA WebLogic WorkShop is about changing the way applications are built," Chuang told the audience of BEA users. "In the enterprise, we have not done much to match up with the expectations of the users... Now we're at the stage where the expectation of the user is instantaneous application deployment."

BEA describes the WebLogic Workshop as an integrated development framework with visual interfaces to Java and J2EE. The tool is designed to enable application developers to build enterprise-class applications on the BEA platform without having to learn object-oriented programming or sophisticated J2EE APIs by hiding the complexities of J2EE through what BEA officials describe as "simple controls."

"Until now, developers have been forced to choose between ease-of-use and robust, enterprise-ready platforms," said BEA VP of Engineering Adam Bosworth.

BEA Director of Technology Evangelism Tyler Jewell joined Chuang on stage for a slick ten-minute demo, in which he used WebLogic Workshop to link mapping services with GPS and vehicle registration services provided by San Diego's Networkcar, creating a J2EE application that would notify police computers of the whereabouts of a stolen car.

Chang closed his presentation by disclosing that BEA has acquired Sweden's Appeal Virtual Machines, makers of the Jrockit VM. With Microsoft phasing the JVM out of its operating system offerings, Chang said, BEA needed to be able to provide a high quality JVM implementation for the Intel platform, as well as improved cross-platform JVM support.

A beta version of Weblogic Workshop can be downloaded at:

http://commerce.bea.com/downloads/weblogic_workshop.jsp

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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