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BEA, TogetherSoft forge pact for Workshop plug-in

As a step in its plan to make J2EE accessible to a greater number of developers, BEA Systems said on Tuesday that it is making a popular visual Java modeling tool from TogetherSoft Corp. available as a plug-in for the WebLogic Workshop development platform.

By integrating the ControlCenter Accelerator plug-in from TogetherSoft, WebLogic Workshop developers can combine visual modeling and visual Web services development in one environment. Previously, they could not do so because BEA does not offer a Unified Modeling Language (UML) modeling tool. ''Now, developers who like modeling tools can quickly and easily develop and deploy their applications on WebLogic,'' said Erik Frieberg, direct of product marketing for WebLogic Workshop.

According to Frieberg, the marriage of WebLogic and ControlCenter makes the model-build-deploy-test life cycle for applications extremely efficient. He called the combination particularly compelling for ControlCenter developers, ''because they were previously limited to building EJB applications.''

This move follows TogetherSoft's recent announcement of a proposed acquisition of WebGain Studio software from WebGain Inc. WebGain was backed financially by BEA, and WebGain Studio software was typically shipped with WebLogic app servers.

''With the WebLogic framework, they can build a whole new class of applications with dramatically less time and effort,'' said Frieberg.

Developers can now build UML models for Web services in ControlCenter that are accessed via the server-side control framework in WebLogic Workshop. The resulting product allows customers to easily build and connect components, data and application business logic in a visual environment, dramatically simplifying J2EE development.

The end result of this, said Freiberg, will be to make J2EE more accessible to developers in the same way that Visual Basic accelerated the development of applications for Microsoft Windows. According to Frieberg, J2EE is currently accessible to only 10% to 15% of Java developers; the rest prefer not to program to the comprehensiveness that J2EE provides. ''Our goal is to make J2EE accessible to the vast majority of Java developers,'' he stated.

Accelerators are products that extend Together ControlCenter with other software development tools and environments. Through year's end, the Accelerator plug-in will be offered to joint BEA and ControlCenter users at no cost. Pricing after that has not been determined, said Freiberg, but he said the usual cost of the plug-in is $500.

According to Freiberg, this marks the first time a third-party software vendor has developed a tool specifically for WebLogic Workshop. However, he added that BEA will work with other Java tool vendors to make its WebLogic Workshop framework accessible to as many developers as possible.

For more on BEA, read ''What's behind BEA's big bet on tools?'' by Jack Vaughan at http://www.adtmag.com/article.asp?id=6509.

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