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RealTime IT News

Amazon Brings Web Services to its Vendors

In one of its biggest deals to date, Web services software developer Systinet signed Amazon.com to a multi-year deal that standardizes all the information flowing to and from the merchant's many third-party vendors.

Using the C++ programming language as a backdrop to the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP ), and using SOAP envelopes to deliver and decipher the information, third-party vendors like FootLocker can send new information about its latest product line and integrate it with Amazon's existing database, streamlining and reducing the hassle of making all the information compatible.

Amazon is already using an earlier iteration of Systinet's software on its database, which uses an XML-to-HTTP translation process, but will quickly integrate to the Web Applications and Services Platform (WASP) and C++ to bring in third-party information. According to Systinet officials, WASP is the only application out there that supports both C++ and Java and uses a standardized interface to incorporate the many different Web services architectures -- like J2EE and .Net .

Ian Bruce, a Systinet spokesperson, said the time it takes to get Amazon's vendors onto and using the new interface depends on the size of the organization. The best part of the WASP software is the amount of hassle it takes from Amazon developers to get its vendors onto the new program.

"Amazon needs to do very little hand-holding to get them going," Bruce said.

A factor in any online merchant's (or any organization, for that matter) mind prior to buying into a new Web services platform is the security of the solution, which is one of Systinet's selling points, Bruce said. Supporting the latest technologies, like SOAP 1.2 and WSDL 1.1, Systinet's software is the only commercially-available software that comes packaged with UDDI version 3, which is a sort of "yellow pages" directory.

Earlier this year, Systinet launched the latest version of WASP using Java, which Bruce hopes will ease concerns that Web services is an insecure technology. The C++ version was updated in July, with a new UDDI upgrade last month.

"A lot of people still argue that Web services are not developed," Bruce said, "and that you can't put it past the firewall. We're certainly breaking those rules with our WASP application."

According to Systinet CEO Roman Stanek, signing a contract with a company synonymous with the Internet and one of the first to establish Web services as a core part of its business was important.

"Our deal with Amazon.com is another strong indication of the significant momentum we are experiencing in the Web services marketplace, from both enterprise clients and ISVs that embed Web services in their software products," he said.

Officials at the Cambridge, Mass.-based company say their revenues come from two separate types of clients: the traditional enterprise (like Amazon and the more established Deutsche Telekom and J.P. Morgan) that integrates their software into the network for use by its customers/clients; the second come from independent software vendors (ISVs) who embed WASP into their own software application -- they include ISVs FileNet and Interwoven. Both play an important part in Systinet's goal to get its technology out to the world.

In March, the company launched ISV partnership program to get developers to use its product in their own applications. So far, Bruce said, it's been a success.

"In terms of ubiquity, it's becoming very widely adopted," he said.