WRQ’s Apptrieve Adds XML Support

In this age of data travel at Internet speeds, quick and easy access to information residing on legacy systems is more important than ever, especially for integration with Web-based, e-commerce applications.

Longstanding AS/400 player WRQ Inc. (Seattle) recently added another option for data access to Apptrieve, its data-mining solution. Apptrieve enables users to mine the data and business logic locked inside legacy systems and reuse them in custom Web applications—without making any changes to the underlying business processes or host system.

Through a partnership with DataChannel, an XML-based enterprise information portal company, Apptrieve customers investing in e-business now have the ability to extend the usability of legacy data in AS/400, IBM mainframe, Unix and VAX host applications using XML as their e-business data exchange platform.

“The agreement is key in our strategy to further extend the ability for WRQ Apptrieve to bring legacy system data into the 21st century without intensive development or business process re-engineering,” says Shaun Wolfe, VP at WRQ Inc. “XML has proven to be a technology that organizations will demand in creation of their e-business infrastructures. We are pleased to partner with DataChannel to leverage their XML expertise and EIP and offer customers more options for extending their legacy data.”

If a customer chooses to expose the legacy data through the XML standard, DataChannel will pick up the information from Apptrieve and present the information through the EIP.

“XML helps normalize the data,” says Sally Anderson, director of product marketing at DataChannel. “We provide the facility to deliver the right information to the right user in a non-evasive way.”

In the past, Apptrieve customers exposed the data via standard objects such as JavaBeans or COM for integration with Web applications, both of which will continue to be options for Apptrieve customers.

If a user chooses the XML option, they will see a representation of the data with tags around it that describe what information is in which tag. From there, the user chooses what information stored on the legacy systems they want to use.

“By providing XML and partnering with DataChannel, we’re bringing this data to a new source of users,” says Bruce Thompson, strategic marketing manager at WRQ. “It’s a naturalized extension of one more standardized way to view the data.”

According to both Thompson and Anderson, the XML support will be very useful for Apptrieve customers. “XML is far more extensible,” says Anderson. “You can customize and personalize the data down to a personal level.”

The information the user receives is the same whether they use XML or COM to access data from the legacy systems. XML distinguishes itself however, because it is easier and quicker to use than COM or JavaBeans. Besides being able to integrate the applications quicker, corporations can have less qualified personnel do the work. “XML makes the information more accessible to a broader range of people,” says Thompson. “It’s less difficult than programming at the COM and JavaBeans level.”

Looking ahead, Thompson sees XML moving to the forefront in the near future. “Some customers may prefer to still use JavaBeans or COM, but it really looks like XML is emerging very quickly with tremendous IT and vendor support,” he says. “Over time, we think customers will use XML more and more.”

XML support will be available in the release of Apptrieve 3.5, which is slated to ship in June. WRQ is also working on providing an XML interface for Apptrieve’s current release, version 3.01.

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