BEA: XML Brings Distributed Apps To Masses

BEA Systems' buyout of tools provider M7 signals that BEA execs believes that traditional Java/J2EE developers will be working side-by-side with a new family of Open Source technologies for SOA solutions. IDN talks with BEA vice president Bill Roth about BEA's vision for a blended SOA developer community, and why XML, not Java, will bring distributed computing to the masses.

Tags: Developer, BEA, Java, Roth, NitroX, Open Source, SOA,

BEA vice president Bill Roth says BEA's vision for a "blended" SOA developer community will mix J2EE, J2SE, and Open Source (Srping, Struts, Hibernate, Perl, PHP and Ruby).

BEA's buyout of M7, provider of the NitroX line of dev tools, does two things for BEA and its customers, Roth said. "It brings us solid people and technology, and it broadens our footprint to support our message of blended application development, use of commercial and Open Source," Bill Roth, BEA's vice president for solutions and product marketing told IDN.

Roth said an internal BEA survey of its customers' developers found that 72% of BEA customers use Open Source frameworks, including Struts, Spring, Hiberamnte.
"This tells us that J2EE developer community has found a way to build frameworks that make it easier to do code, and as importantly, it tells us that innovation is happening elsewhere."

Roth looks at Spring as an example: "With Spring, you can take a Plain Old Java Object, have an XML file outside and type in some XML and automatically you get objects you can talk to over a server. Contrast that with how difficult it is today with how difficult it is to build EJBs." Roth puts it simply: XML and SOA will finally make distributed computing available for the masses."

Inside BEA's Blended SOA Dev Strategy

The BEA "blended" application strategy facilitates the bringing together of open source and commercial software in a way that radically improves developer productivity. M7, whose NitroX works with Eclipse, includes all the top "open" Java-friendly technologies, including Struts, Hibernate, Java Server Faces and JavaServer Pages. "You will see BEA supporting other languages and frameworks," beyond Java, Roth said.

We asked Roth why BEA, credited with inventing the J2EE application server stack, is moving away from Java/J2EE?
"It is clear that the Java community has had a good run, and over the past few years, the [Java/J2EE] developer community has come up with ways to code around inefficiencies. We've also seen an expansion in the number of viable languages and programming models out there. It used to be Java and C++ for Object-programming. Now we have Perl, Ruby and all sorts of other innovations.

Roth also explained how does Open Source help Java/J2EE devs get closer to SOA design and deployments. ". These new languages make it possible for app logic to be developed into services faster, and help to service0eanble applications. And, as long as each of these [new languages/frameworks] can generate a web services, a JMS message queue or pass off to MQSeries it will allow SOA. So, these new language platforms provide an app infrastructure," Roth said.

But, he added, "once a company has 50-100 services, then they'll need a common connecting point and the ability to manage and monitor service levels agreements between those services." That's where BEA's AquaLogic will come in, to provide a services infrastructure for these Java and non-Java services, Roth said.

BEA plans to merge its existing developer tools capabilities with M7's M7 NitroX product family: NitroX Studio, NitroX JSP IDE, NitroX Struts IDE and NitroX JSF IDE and provide these capabilities to the market as the BEA Workshop for Java IDE. In addition, BEA Workshop for Java will also provide a developer tooling base for all of BEA's product offerings.