Bill Evidon doesn’t want to get hurt in the Java War — but he admits it’s a worry.
Evidon’s company, WRQ, recently announced a product called Enterview, which takes WRQ’s established business in PC-to-host connectivity to the promising Web-to-host market. It’s pure Java and it allows legacy host data to be delivered to the desktop via Web browsers on any platform.
It was something WRQ’s customers needed — and it’s just the kind of application which could get messed around if Microsoft’s Java splits off from Sun’s Java. “It’s certainly something to consider,” says Evidon, who became WRQ’s product manager for this region in May. “Looking at the situation between Sun and Microsoft right now, our feeling is that we’re going to support Java no matter what and let those other guys fight out what Java is.”
Will he be able to react to that. even if it means having to develop two sets of Java applications? “We certainly hope not,” says Evidon. “But if that’s what’s necessary we’ll have to make that decision. Typically, WRQ’s position over what we support is determined by what our customers are using and what they ask us to do.
“So if it’s the case that there are two different flavours of Java that we need to support because our customers want it, then that’s probably what we’ll do.”
Evidon says Enterview - like WRQ’s industry-first OEM licence with Citrix, which sees it bundling an optimised version of its Reflection connectivity software with Citrix Winframe - is a response to the needs of enterprise customers.
“Enterview is being driven by the explosion of the intranet, and the way corporations are using the intranet as the focal point for their employees’ access to data. The browser has become a ubiquitous interface for finding information on the Internet, and it will become the interface, supposedly, to Windows 98,” says Evidon.
“Along with the expansion of access to information in companies is an expansion of host access. We see Enterview letting businesses take advatange of the intranet to extend host access to a lot of users that didn’t have it before. There are also extranet applications too - but there are some security questions over the role of firewalls and so on that we’re researching at the moment.”
The fact that Enterview is centrally installed, configured and managed appeals to customers, says Evidon, and it is also strongly attractive. as a migratory technology for many businesses who don’t wish to abandon or atempt to port “rock solid” mainframe applications.
A number of obvious partners - IBM, for instance - beckon for such a technology, but Evidon says WRQ has taken on no partners “that we can announce” for Enterview. He does, however, have a view on the kind of partnerships WRQ would like.
“The architecture of Enterview, through the Java APIs, allows a Java developer to use Enterview as a kind of communications engine between a client and a host application, for a front end that they could write for themselves in Java. That’s one kind of partner we’d like to see.”