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Software vendor creates granular Web services

Epicor Software Corp. (formerly Platinum Software), Irvine, Calif., has re-architected its software products to be Web services at the granular level, company officials said.

A Microsoft shop and an early adopter of .NET, Epicor (www.epicor.com) provides accounting, financial and other packaged software to mid-sized businesses. As Web services standards emerged, the vendor decided to go beyond the current practice of wrapping existing applications in XML, said James Norwood senior director, product marketing at Epicor's Enterprise Group.

Building upon the .NET platform, Epicor's development staff created Web services at a very granular level. "At the lowest level, customer is its own Web service, tax is a Web service and currency is a Web service," Norwood explained. "And each one has 40 or 50 methods of what I can do with it: Get customer, add customer and delete customer."

The advantage of this architecture is that Epicor's 15,000 customers can customize the way the Web services interact without getting into the bits and bytes level, he said. That is a plus because in a belt-tightened economy, mid-sized businesses do not have the IT resources for custom coding and complex implementations, he explained.

Epicor's Internet Component Environment (ICE) application framework includes tools to allow users to set up business rules specific to their company by directing how Web services will interact in certain scenarios, Norwood said.

"They can go in and say, 'This is what happens when a credit limit is exceeded. Put this account on hold. Send an e-mail to the person who needs to approve it. Pick up another Web service to do a credit check,'" he explained. "All of that can be built in at the Web services level. And as your business changes, you can remodel those."

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

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