Ironside Welds Form with Function

Breaking from the conventional wisdom that business-to-business e-commerce applications must be developed within rigid parameters that emphasize performance over ease-of-use, Ironside Technologies Inc. (Pleasanton, Calif.) promises to deliver a comfortable blend with its latest version of Ironworks solution for the manufacturing and wholesale distribution market.

Ironworks 3.0 is designed to provide simplified integration with the AS/400 platform and support for IBM's WebSphere application server, while at the same time providing an enhanced graphical design capability.

Improved integration with the AS/400 is expected to speed implementation time for Ironworks on that platform. In addition, leveraging IBM's WebSphere application server enables Ironworks to maximize throughput and offer uninhibited performance capabilities in high-demand environments.

Ironside is focused on the business-to-business e-commerce space, where the key to success in the market is to provide customers with sub-second response time from existing business systems, according to Derek Smyth, VP of marketing and business development for Ironside Technologies.

And Ironside-powered applications can now take advantage of WebSphere's features, Smyth adds. "The kinds of services WebSphere provides as an application server are really going to allow our customers a comfort level that they're going to be able to scale as they roll their solutions out."

Not known for paying particular attention to aesthetics, Ironside moves in a more flexible direction with version 3.0 thanks to enhanced graphical design capability. "With the rapid acceptance of business-to-business e-commerce solutions, this flexibility is more the demand than it was two years ago," Smyth says. "With the flexible user interface, you can now develop a user interface that's as pretty and open to multiple graphical standards as an HTML page."

One industry analyst feels Ironside's tighter integration with the AS/400 will help the company attract a larger number of medium-size companies looking to develop e-commerce systems. In addition, Ironside is expanding its presence by providing a better user interface that will appeal to a wider spectrum of users, from marketing professionals to programmers, according to Albert Pang, electronic commerce software analyst with IDC (Framingham, Mass.).