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BEA Eyes J2EE Crown with 'Workshop'

BEA Monday said it is ready to retake the J2EE crown away from IBM and it will do it by to making Java development easier for all types of developers - not just J2EE experts.

Since losing the title of "Java application server software" leader recently, the brains behind BEA have been focusing on its partners to pull the company out of its funk.

Now, at this week's JavaOne Conference in San Francisco, BEA says it has several new friends onboard including Attachmate, Blue Titan, Confluent Sofware, Cyclone Commerce, Documentum , Informatica , MobileAware, Salesforce.com, Ubiquity and Yahoo! Enterprise Solutions . All plan to offer pre-built Java Controls for BEA's recently updated WebLogic Workshop; now in version 8.1.

The platform lets developers with limited experience build and connect components, data, and application business logic inside a shell surrounded by a Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) framework. The controls provide a service-oriented reference point for mixing together sometimes non-native resources, such as databases, applications and external Web services.

BEA says because controls can be reused in future projects, software developers can share development best practices; and because controls abstract J2EE "plumbing" code, they too can be shared among integration specialists and business analysts.

"Our partners have recognized that BEA is leading the charge among Java vendors to become the de facto platform for enterprise development and business integration. They are working hard to support BEA, and we are grateful for their endorsement." BEA executive vice president Olivier Helloboid said in a statement.

The five-year back and forth against Big Blue was never so highlighted when the San Jose, Calif.-based BEA inked a deal with Hewlett-Packard as well as Salesforce.com on its new "sforce" initiative.

The two partnerships wedged BEA's software into previously hostile territory. The company said each is a significant step in the larger process of gaining industry backing for its entire BEA WebLogic Enterprise Platform. "BEA has always remained ahead of the market and BEA WebLogic Workshop is the latest example," said Helleboid. "While our competitors are scrambling to roll out comparable product roadmaps, BEA is collecting industry accolades and watching customers implement WebLogic Workshop with tangible positive effects -- today."

BEA says it has found such success with Workshop's pilot program for Controls, that it is highlighting customer wins using the software platform including AirNet, the City of Chicago, Hewlett-Packard, RoundArch and TrueLink.

For example, HP said it looked to BEA WebLogic Workshop to build out its business-to-business e-commerce storefront to provide more channels and services for its corporate customers.

Despite claims that their software is the only one that takes the complexity out of J2EE, several other vendors including IBM, Borland and even Sun Microsystems are trying to address the worldwide shortage of developer resources by doing most of the code-based dirty work involved in making one company's applications work with another's.