Developers Get a Sip of BEA’s ‘Liquid Computing’

BEA Systems is offering developers new tools to easily build Java applications based on the company’s Liquid Computing vision.

As part of its service-oriented architecture vision, company officials also demonstrated Alchemy, the company’s mobile version of that vision to help match computing services with the needs of users on the go.

Unveiled at BEA eWorld 2004 Conference in San Francisco Tuesday, Liquid
Computing is the company’s grand
into the hectic but nascent SOA market, where rivals IBM , Microsoft and Oracle are also trying to drop anchor.

With Liquid Data, the San Jose, Calif. infrastructure software outfit is proposing to make software that helps businesses move closer to realizing a model called the “real-time enterprise,” where end users can receive information from computing systems as services, and updates occur in a business process. The premise is to cut IT response time from months to minutes.

BEA and its rivals are all working on software that provides such flexibility and SOAs , distributed models of computing that share and reuse business data as services or components, along with Web services , are the models the vendors have chosen to reach their goals.

To wit, BEA unveiled an SOA Technology Center, the SOA Blueprints Initiative (SOABI), as well as new controls, which are reusable components designed for use with well-known platforms like Amazon and eBay, to further drive developer productivity.

Noting in a press statement that the new programs are designed to provide best practices and standards for effectively implementing SOAs, Cornelius Willis, vice president, developer marketing, BEA Systems, said the SOA Technology Center offers developers guidelines, patterns, code samples and demos to help them craft functional SOAs.

BEA has also created, in conjunction with consultancy The Middleware Company, blueprints for writing and using SOA applications.

The company also unveiled its BEA WebLogic Workshop Control Pack, a set of free packaged and open source controls designed to help developers use the Web services functions of the Amazon, eBay, Federal Express, Google, PayPal and UPS platforms.

The controls offer Java development via a drag-and-drop approach, as opposed to tricky hand coding. For example, BEA said in a statement a developer can drag and drop controls for purchasing, shopping carts, inventory and data entry to create an application selling product that can plug directly into the platforms of eBay or Amazon.

The pack is part of the company’s “Project Beehive,” BEA’s plan to open source the WebLogic Workshop application framework to make Java application development easier.

In related news, Adam Bosworth, chief architect and senior vice president advanced development, demonstrated the mobile version of Liquid Computing, dubbed Alchemy, at eWorld 2004 Wednesday. BEA expects Alchemy to be the first client platform designed to help mobile users use SOAs to perform tasks while on the go.

BEA, which missed it software licensing revenue target this quarter, has grand plans for SOAs, and analysts seem bullish on the company’s prospects in light of this week’s news.

The company is, however, going to have to play a bit of catch-up to the likes of IBM, which earlier this spring unveiled
its first SOA product and four SOA Design centers.
Microsoft is currently prepping Indigo as the SOA communications component of its next-generation Longhorn
operating system.

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