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webMethods Strengthens Ties with Microsoft

webMethods Wednesday boosted its presence with .NET developers after announcing an agreement in Microsoft's Visual Studio Industry Partner (VSIP) program.

As a premier partner in the program, the Fairfax, Va., infrastructure software developer is now able to license and distribute Visual Studio (VS) software (though it doesn't plan to), sponsor joint Microsoft studies, tap into the Redmond, Wash., company's marketing machine and take part in partner promotions.

The expanded relationship with the company is due to a rise in the number of developers using the Visual Studio platform to create Web services tools using webMethods' Integration Platform 6.1, released three months ago.

Andy Astor, vice president of strategic solutions at webMethods, wouldn't say how many VS developers signed licensing deals in the half-year they've been under Microsoft's partner program, but claimed interest has been high and translated into selling multiple licenses.

The ability to create tools Web services on any framework is becoming an essential requirement in today's enterprise IT departments. How the program is created is secondary to when programmers can develop software that knits the different applications on a network into an integrated whole.

The webMethods for Microsoft Package is an integration software product for VS developers to build and access Web services code built on any platform, all from the comforts of their VS framework. It's an enticing way for graphics-dependent Microsoft programmers to delve into other frameworks, such as Sun Microsystems' Java platform.

"Developers in a Visual Studio .NET environment don't want to have to transfer their skills, learn new skills or access other platforms in difficult ways, they just want to point-and-click and have their applications work," Astor told internetnews.com.

webMethods and Microsoft have worked together since 1997, when they worked with Redmond on the initial SOAP standard and then again in 1988 when they agreed to jointly develop XML-based applications (which later became Web services applications).

Last year, the webMethods joined Microsoft, Sun and eight others on the WS-Integration Organization's board of directors.