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Java-Based Data Integration Tool Supports Eclipse

Fans of the open-source XAware integration tool suite can now access its capabilities from the latest version of the Eclipse IDE. The list of tools in the Java-based suite now includes an Eclipse-friendly designer that supports visual drag-and-drop and wizard-based development. The new features are meant to speed up the creation of composite data services, which can then be choreographed and re-used for a variety of purposes, XAware said.

Colorado-based XAware made the announcement about its namesake product at the EclipseWorld enterprise Java development conference in Virginia last week. The Eclipse 3.4 support is available now for the open-source version; that support will surface in the commercially licensed version of the product sometime later this year, the company said.

The goal of the open-source XAware project (now in release 5) is to simplify the process of building and maintaining access to and from multiple external data sources. But there's a unique focus on service-orientation in this project. "If you look at an SOA stack you're probably going to have applications and some kind of orchestration layer that may include business processes, but those higher level services and process need data," XAware's co-founder and chief science officer Kirstan Vandersluis tells this site. "The XAware environment provides a data-services layer, which makes it possible to create a service that accesses multiple data sources and then exposes it as a single logical data set."

The XAware tool suite is built on several technical standards (Java 2 Enterprise Edition, REST, the Spring framework and XML) and some industry standards (ACORD, CSIO, EDI, HL7 and NIEM).

Essentially, the product provides a services layer to bridge the gap between business processes and physical data. This services layer comprises logical assemblies of data services and conditional processing. This services layer, Vandersluis says, applies the complex logic of the business layer, as well as the formatting, chaining and rules processing.

During an earlier interview, Vandersluis argued that providing this services layer will drive SOA adoption. "SOA is all about providing data at the proper level of granularity," he said. "With a data services layer, you can construct your services at the right level to supply your orchestration layer, so that your processes now look a lot more like something a business analyst can understand. Long term, that's what's going to allow SOA to work properly."

Vandersluis now says that more than 200,000 of the users who have downloaded XAware since it was first released in February are Eclipse developers. "These developers can easily plug XAware in to their development environment and, within a short period of time, start building reusable data services for SOA and RIA applications. XAware dramatically reduces the cost and time it takes to integrate and mashup data from multiple systems," he said in a statement.

XAware is designed to make other tools and frameworks more productive by hiding all of this data-access complexity behind "XML views," Vandersluis adds. These views are formatted as XML, he explains, which can be consumed and manipulated more easily by Web 2.0 dashboards, applications, and other integration infrastructure components (ESBs , XML query-and-reporting tools, etc.).

The open-source XAware tool suite is available for free under the GPLv2 license; the commercial version will be available under a separate license.

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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