Novell, which is best known for selling networking software, is making a push into web services development, attendees at seminars in Auckland and Wellington heard last week.
Following its acquisition of web services tool company SilverStream Software in July, Novell is now pushing its exteNd development suite for building, integrating, and deploying web applications and web services.
Web services is the fourth piece of Novell’s One Net strategy, the others being secure identity management, networking services and consulting.
Novell is offering exteNd to integrate back end systems, and build front end cross platform interfaces to users.
Novell Australia business solutions specialist Klaus Petras, who joined the company from SilverStream, says building J2EE applications can be a daunting task.
ExteNd Composer is a visual design environment which can create process-driven, non-visual XML web services which make XML requests from and get XML responses from a range of back-end systems, Novell says. They might include mainframes, midrange systems, client-server sustems, databases, EDI transactions, ERP packages and other web applications.
“They could be CICS, 3270 terminal or 5250 [AS/400] or other transactions. All the connectors are built-in, whereas often you have to have third-party connectors,” says Petras. “You then need to orchestrate those services with a business process manager.”
ExteNd Composer uses WSFL (web services flow language), an XML language that describes interactions between services within complex business processes. According to Novell, it produces output that will work with either Novell’s or any J2EE-certified application server, such as IBM WebSphere or BEA WebLogic.
Developers can use exteNd Director to build applications linking the web services to different users on different devices.
As yet there are no local users of exteNd. Asked whether Novell is late off the rank with web services compared to Microsoft, IBM and Sun, Novell New Zealand general manager Peter Revell says Novell only bought SilverStream in July.
He says the company will start holding events for developer communities and target key user sites such as the Inland Revenue Department with its web services pitch.
In the first half of 2003, the company plans to combine exteNd with its directory and identity- and policy-based management technologies, enabling developers to inject security features such as single sign-on into applications from the ground up.