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WSDL editor jumpstarts new Web services wave

David Clarke knows that one of the leading Web services tools is Microsoft's humble, if functional, Notepad. Of course, developers seeking a more sophisticated tool can always move up to Microsoft Word.

But Clarke, executive vice president at Cape Clear Software, says his firm wants to speed Web services development by offering corporate users a real graphical WSDL editor without charge.

'What we're trying to do here is kill off Notepad as the tool of choice for Web services developers,' he quipped in a phone call from his office in Campbell, Calif. He said the goal for the newly released Cape Clear WSDL Editor is to do for Web services what Microsoft FrontPage and Macromedia Dreamweaver have done for Web page development -- open Web services development to non-programmers.

'It's an easy-to-use graphical editor for business analysts who are technical but not necessarily programmers,' the Cape Clear executive said.

The point-and-click WSDL Editor, complete with wizards, is aimed at business analysts who, according to Clarke, are taking a lead role in creating Web services in organizations. 'They are the people we are seeing take up Web services,' he said. 'They are frequently the people working on the issues of what services their organization wants to expose to the Web.'

Business analysts creating Web services marks a second wave in the XML technology trend, as Clarke sees it. The first wave saw (and still sees) IT professionals using Web services for integration. The second wave is marked by business analysts moving existing services to the Web.

'They [analysts] are starting to think of [moving existing services to the Web] in terms of WSDL being a design view where they can actually think about designing Web services,' he explained. 'They are thinking about WSDL from the ground up and then wiring it back to existing systems and business infrastructure. The WSDL editor is about facilitating that. It's about helping people who want not just to take a bunch of Java and auto-generate some interfaces and stick it on the Web, but people who want to start thinking about building a Web service from the ground up, saying: 'What do I want this to look like? What kind of operations do I want to offer?''

As an example, Clarke points to the purchasing and expense management system at Cape Clear, which has been made available as a Web service that can now be modified using the company's WSDL Editor. He added that he is seeing the trend move to more mission-critical applications such as risk management systems at financial institutions.

For anyone who wants to try their hand at Web services design and creation, the Cape Clear WSDL Editor is available as a free download at http://www.capeclear.com/wsdleditor.

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

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