IONA Simplifies SOAs for Programmers

Looking to capitalize on the latest push to move software infrastructure from traditional integration approaches to one based on flexible Web services, IONA Technologies created a developer program to help programmers craft service-oriented architectures (SOAs).

Rooted in the Dublin, Ireland-based company’s Web Services integration product Artix, the Artix Developer Program will help developers construct SOAs , which are essentially distributed computing models, for enabling Web services .

According to a company statement, the initiative includes software, support and educational materials to help software architects bring “enterprise Web services integration to the next level and better understand Web services’ role in emerging computing environments.”

The program is fueled by the Artix Developer Kit, which includes the Artix development environment and run-time engine. Artix, a platform-agnostic set of infrastructure products for building Java, C/C++ and mainframe Web services, supports most platforms, messaging protocols and programming languages.

“The industry is experiencing a rapid shift in how Web services and service-oriented architectures are being viewed,” said Scott Devens, vice president of products, IONA Technologies. “Hype is being replaced by reality, and through the Artix Developer Program, we are not only providing the technology, but also the know-how, to face real world computing challenges and to get real work done.”

Devens is right about the increased focus on Web services and corresponding SOAs, as well as the hype. Leading software vendors IBM, BEA Systems , Oracle and, to a lesser degree, Microsoft have been touting SOAs over the last few months in much the same way they rushed to the Web services table in 2000-2001.

As a smaller competitor on the integration front, IONA is looking for their share of the pie, according to ZapThink Senior Analyst Ronald Schmelzer.

“Their play versus IBM and TIBCO, etc., is that they are focused on the app server-less broker-based Service-Oriented Integration play, and they have credibility there,” Schmelzer told “Of course, their legacy [Common Object Request Broker Architecture ] customers at times can weigh them down as well. But, in any case, it seems that their Web Services/SOA practice is really growing.”

The Artix Tech Zone, hosted on IONA’s site, teaches Artix users how to build SOAs. To make the Artix Tech Zone more powerful, the site hosts code samples and live Web services developed using Artix that enterprise developers can use to build and test Web services. To make the developer program easier to use, IONA is offering developers 90 days of free technical support.

IONA is known as an integration pioneer with its CORBA-based Orbix product family. Artix is leading the company, which has U.S. headquarters in Waltham, Mass., into the next generation of Web service and SOA-based integration.

IONA’s customers include AT&T, Verizon, BellSouth, Deutsche Telekom, British Telecom, Hong Kong Telecom.

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