SEAGULL Bets on Web Services over Wireless in Legacy Shops

SEAGULL, a provider of Web-emulation solutions for IBM System/390 and eServer iSeries environments, has entered the world of Web services with the 2.2 beta release of its Transidiom development tool. The move completes a change of focus for SEAGULL, shifting its area of concentration from wireless enablement to Web services.

Prior to the Fall 2000 launch of Transidiom, SEAGULL was heavily promoting its Wireless-to-Host offering, positioning it as a market leader for enabling legacy applications to be accessed via wireless devices. SEAGULL’s desire to tap into the legacy-to-wireless market was well founded, as most industry analysts at the time were predicting tremendous near-term demand for wireless solutions. However, those predictions have yet to be realized, and sentiment on the wireless front has cooled considerably, largely due to persistent coverage and bandwidth issues in the United States.

Faced with limited interest in wireless technology among legacy shops, SEAGULL launched Transidiom for rendering legacy business processes as callable objects through XML, Java, COM and MQ interfaces. Transidiom has since replaced Wireless-to-Host as SEAGULL’s most touted development platform. And now with new features for Web services standards and protocols, specifically Simple Object Access Protocol, Universal Description, Discovery and Integration and Web Services Description Language, Transidiom highlights the demise of wireless and nascent rise of Web services in legacy environments.

“We think there are a lot more applications for Web services in the near term than there are for wireless [in legacy-heavy shops],” says Kim Addington, senior vice president of marketing for SEAGULL. However, she says, Web services is still just a leading-edge technology among the legacy community – much like wireless technologies were two years ago.

Addington says she knows of no Global 2000 companies listed in a public UDDI registry. “So, I would say we’re ahead of the customer here,” she says.

“It’s surprising to me how many large companies aren’t doing Web emulation yet,” says Addington, who describes Web emulation as SEAGULL’s primary mission. Web services, Addington says, is just another method for SEAGULL to expose legacy applications and systems on the Web.

According to a recent report by Dale Vecchio, research director for applications development at analyst firm Gartner Inc., many of the initial Web services projects companies undertake will involve legacy applications. “Whether used as an internal application interface strategy, or as a way to expose current business systems to external constituents, using existing systems as a source of Web services involves significantly less risk than complete transformation," says Vecchio in his report.

SEAGULL’s Transidiom development environment is designed to build Web-based interfaces to legacy applications. With its new support for SOAP, UDDI and WSDL, it can create interfaces for both the Java and Microsoft .NET platforms.

Going forward, SEAGULL intends to enhance its support for Web services, saying it expects to make several announcements about new technologies in this area during the first half of 2002.

So far, SEAGULL doesn’t have any customers with live applications that are using Transidiom’s new SOAP, UDDI or WSDL features. Although, Addington says there is a lot of interest. “Right now, customers are looking at [Web services], but more in an experimental phase,” she says. “Still, I think customers are embracing this concept of Web services faster than they’ve embraced some other things in the past.”

About the Author

Matt Migliore is regular contributor to ENTmag.com. He focuses particularly on Microsoft .NET and other Web services technologies. Matt was the editor of several technology-related Web publications and electronic newsletters, including Web Services Report, ASP insights and MIDRANGE Systems.