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Building SOAs the Compuware Way

Compuware Corporation has unveiled the latest version of Uniface, its toolset for building service-oriented architecture (SOA). The upgrade offers new features and Web services enhancements.

Uniface is Compuware's application development environment based on a model-driven, component-based approach to implementing an SOA . The Detroit-based company's pitch for using its tools is that Uniface's SOA approach can help customers reduce development time by shielding programmers from application complexity, which helps them build reusable services that interact with different platforms and applications.

Version 8.4 of Uniface includes a Web services call-out functionality that is implemented through XML and SOAP , and allows the new Compuware software upgrade to both provision and consume Web services.

The original Web Services call-in functionality was implemented in Uniface 8.3, which was released in 2003. Although the call-in implementation is not unique since it conforms to open standards, Adrian Gosbell, Compuware Uniface's product manager, said its availability is another matter.

This is unique, he told internetnews.com, because it offers a unified development environment that is technology transparent, and it "provides Web Services functionality to enable SOA applications in the enterprise."

Other feature enhancements to Uniface 8.4 include scalability and increased application performance through enhanced real-time applications performance tuning. Compuware also updated the graphical user interface (GUI) of the Uniface tools in response to customer demand for a more intuitive toolset.

According to ZapThink Senior Analyst Jason Bloomberg, such Web services capabilities alone are not enough to enable corporate enterprises to build SOAs.

"However, combined with Uniface's existing model-driven approach that enables the reuse of components across the enterprise, Uniface will compete favorably with tools such as those offered by IBM/Rational, Borland, BEA Systems, Sybase, Systinet, Rogue Wave, and others," he said.

"SOAs, however, are architectures, which means they consist of best practices and software design principles," Bloomberg added. "Development tools like Uniface can help a company build an SOA, but there's no replacement for the expertise of an architect."

Both Oracle and IBM are ramping up their discussion of SOA as they related to product lines, such as IBM's WebSphere middleware family.