Borland Targets Web Services Space

Borland Software Corp. (new window) in late September unveiled a Web services strategy based on the J2EE Web application infrastructure.

As part of its strategy, Borland announced plans to provide a number of cross-platform development tools which it says will enable developers to create applications that leverage Web services standards such as the SOAP and WSDL, as well as Microsoft’s .NET Web application infrastructure.

“We are very much focused in making sure that we are interoperable,” comments Tony de la Lama, vice president and general manager of Java products for Borland. “So we could very much consume a Web service that’s publishable by a .NET framework as well as publish a Web service that’s consumable by a .NET framework.”

Borland’s Web services strategy is expected to leverage existing products such as Delphi 6.0, a rapid application development environment which the company announced in May 2001. Delphi 6.0 incorporated compiler-level support for SOAP, WSDL and for other key components of the so-called XML integration stack and made it possible for developers to build Web services functionality into their applications without specifically writing the code for that purpose.

It’ll also hinge upon the success of several as-yet-unreleased products, including a new Web services toolkit that Borland is scheduled to release sometime before the end of 2001. “The Web services pack is going to focus on SOAP, WSDL and UDDI to provide you with the tools necessary to go ahead and deploy and develop and find Web services,” de la Lama maintains.

A number of other Borland products, the company’s JBuilder Java RAD environment and BizSnap and WebSnap design tools foremost among them, are expected to figure heavily in the company’s proposed Web services strategy as well, company officials say.

Some analysts speculate that the reputation that Borland has earned as a purveyor of robust, cross-platform RAD tools could help to put it on the short list of IT organizations that are turned off by the .NET-centric focus of Microsoft’s upcoming Visual Studio .NET RAD environment. “A [toolkit] vendor who supports both [environments] could be very successful because the tools that Microsoft and IBM are producing are really specific [to their own products],” suggests Rob Enderle, a research fellow with analyst firm Giga Information Group.

In this respect, Rick Nadler, Borland Web services architect, claims that although his company’s Web services strategy is based on J2EE, it nonetheless strives to be as platform agnostic as is possible.

“Our deployment of Web services is based on Java [itself], so it’s going to be platform agnostic. What you’ll be able to do with Borland is you’ll be able to employ Web services independent of whatever infrastructure you have,” he concludes.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.