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Helping .NET Developers Diagnose Web Services

AmberPoint Tuesday unveiled the next piece to its strategy to gain developer mindshare by launching a developer's edition of its Web services management platform that is tailored for the Microsoft .NET framework to let users seamlessly manage Web Services right from Visual Studio.

AmberPoint Express provides includes performance feedback, monitoring and logging, as well as testing features for Web services to help developers gain insight into the performance and reliability of their Web services before they roll them out for public consumption. The .NET version of AmberPoint Express executes in native Visual C# and uses the Web services system libraries of the Microsoft common language runtime (CLR).

AmberPoint, who is joining Microsoft at its Professional Developer's Conference in Los Angeles Tuesday to announce its news, has tightly integrated this version of its developer's edition with Visual Studio .NET. Moreover, AmberPoint unveiled a customized version of Express for the next version of Visual Studio at PDC.

Ed Horst, vice president of marketing for the Oakland, Calif.-based concern, said AmberPoint Express requires no modifications to the Web services code, the client code or the SOAP messages.

"This is a developer-oriented approach to makes sure steps are not overlooked," Horst told internetnews.com, noting that developers may sometimes skip over steps. AmberPoint Express requires no special coding, which saves programmers time. "With a single click, a developer can test run Web services in Visual Studio."

Web services management is considered one of the great barriers to wholesale adoption of Web services, which help applications communicate one another to efficiently carry out tasks, such as processing purchase orders. Horst said his company's new Express software provides the functionality developers have been asking for to monitor, analyze and fine-tune their Web services on the .NET Framework. This helps validate their projects -- assurances that don't come easy but are seen as important by customers.

Horst said specific features help programmers discover and manage Web services automatically, divine Web service problems and analyze messages in XML formats. Users may also test programs with auto-generated or logged messages and

Jason Bloomberg, senior analyst at research concern ZapThink, said AmberPoint is one of the few Web Services management vendor to offer tools for developers and testers to use as they're building Web Services and noted that they are entering the development and testing tools space populated by such startups as Cape Clear, Parasoft, and Mindreef. AmberPoint also competes with the likes of Actional and Confluent Software.

"AmberPoint is clearly trying to build mindshare among developers with the goal of upselling to their full management suite," Bloomberg told internetnews.com.

AmberPoint Express will be generally available later this quarter while an early version of AmberPoint Express that works with current versions of Visual Studio .NET will be offered free to all attendees at PDC in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, a customized version of AmberPoint management software will be distributed with the next commercial release of Microsoft Visual Studio, code named "Whidbey."