BEA Offloads Rapid App Software

Online application software provider DataWeb has picked up a line of rapid application software from BEA Systems in a stock and cash deal valued at over $7 million.

In addition to software assets that help developers in Web shops roll out dynamic applications across their development groups quickly, the purchase nets the Seattle-based DataWeb more than 3000 customers that AT&T had co-located with BEA.

BEA, for its part, is apparently moving out of a niche sector of providing object-oriented and modeling software tailored for smaller Web development environments.

Instead, the San Jose, Calif.-based company is increasingly focused on offering major development platforms through its WebLogic enterprise level application server products that are a major part of its role in Web Services for enterprise customers, noted a Web Services-focused analyst.

Rapid application modeling software “is a part of (BEA’s) business we haven’t heard that much about,” said Ron Schmelzer, senior analyst with Zapthink, a research firm focused on XML-based standards and Web services.

The sale of the software assets, he added, is a signal that BEA is more focused on value-added software for enterprise customers’ use on top of existing application servers, at a time when application servers themselves are increasingly seen as commodity products in enterprise environments, Schmelzer said.

For DataWeb, which was launched in 1998 by former Microsoft developers who had worked on SQL Server, Visual Basic, Access and other Microsoft products, the purchase helps it consolidate its niche area of deployment of shared, or collaborative applications in smaller Web development environments.

The company said it has re-named the assets HostRAD Designer for hosted rapid application development. It is positioning the product as a tool to help developers build out secure Web sites that are dedicated to collecting and sharing critical information throughout the project team.

It also helps transfer legacy data from network based spreadsheets and databases into a dynamic Web application built using the HostRAD Designer, the company said and can support new integrated applications within thirty to fifty hours of development time.

DataWeb said it would continue to invest in the technology and aggressively support existing and new customers. It plans new application development around the assets.

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