WebLogic Adds Features to Java App Server

WebLogic Inc. (San Francisco, www.weblogic.com) is set to usher in the next phase of server-side Java development with the July release of the next version of Tengah, the company's Java application server. Tengah 3.1 will be the first Java application server to support Enterprise JavaBeans, which promise to facilitate the rapid creation of enterprise-level Java applications.

Application servers are designed to integrate HTML, data and distributed components into business applications that can be delivered over the Internet or intranet. The Tengah application server sits between the client and network resources such as a database, real-time data feeds, or legacy applications built using COM or CORBA.

Tengah already supports Remote Method Invocation for communication with distributed objects, distributed JavaBeans, JDBC, Java Naming and Directory Services (JNDI) and HTTP servlets. It also supports the use of many HTML authoring tools, such as Microsoft Front Page and Dreamweaver from Macromedia Inc. (San Francisco, www.macromedia.com), and several Java IDEs, including Visual Cafe from Symantec Corp. (Cupertino, Calif., www.symantec.com), Borland JBuilder from Inprise Corp. (Scotts Valley, Calif., www.inprise.com,) and IBM Corp.'s Visual Age for Java.

The new version of Tengah includes two major enhancements: COM integration and support for Enterprise JavaBeans. The COM integration feature means Tengah can host any COM object, can export COM components into Java, and can import Java into Visual Basic and Visual C++ applications. "That's nice because you can build Java apps and have them integrate with the existing environment," says Anne Thomas, a senior analyst with the Patricia Seybold Group (Boston). Tengah wraps COM objects with a Java class enabled for remote access, and Java components with an ActiveX control.

While other application servers are already providing some COM/Java interoperability, according to Thomas, she acknowledges that Tengah 3.1 is the first application server to ship with support for Enterprise JavaBeans. Tengah's support will be available up to 6 months before some of its major competitors. "Everyone else is talking about the end of the year," Thomas says.

Others new features include a zero administration client for supporting Java applications downloaded from a Tengah server to a client, a new control console, support for clustered application servers, and Tengah Beans, which are JavaBeans that integrate into several leading IDEs to provide access to Tengah services.

Tengah is written in Java, so it can run on mainframes, AS/400s and Tandem servers in addition to UNIX and Windows platforms.

Some have argued that Java is still too slow to run enterprise applications. But Scott Dietzen, WebLogic's vice president of marketing, disagrees. "Most of the work isn't done on the application server; it's on the database," he says.

Tengah is being used for applications such as customer self-service and support, supply chain and distribution channel management, sales force automation, financial services trading, and real-time integration of online and decision support applications by companies such as American Presidents Lines (Oakland, Calif., www.apl.com), NuSkin Int'l (Provo, Utah, www.nuskin.com) and Xerox Corp. (Stamford, Conn., www.xerox.com).

The new version of Tengah is among the first Java application servers that enable developers to work with Enterprise JavaBeans.