XAware Inc. is going open source today with the fifth generation of its XML data abstraction and federation tools for Web services and service-oriented architecture applications.
XAware5 will be marketed in the commercial open source model under the open source GPLv2 license at a new community site launching today, said Bill Miller, executive chairman of the board for XAware. The company also announced a new partnership with MySQL AB, the open source database company.
Going the commercial open source route is a good move for XAware, said David Linthicum, managing partner of ZapThink, LLC., because it will help them reach the SOA development community that can use its tools.
"It provides them with access to a market that typically would not be considering their technology," Linthicum said. "It also provides them with closer ties to developers and closer ties to feedback that's going to come back from the developer community. They are going to be closely tied to the people who leverage their technology. That's an advantage and also the ability to sell their technology to people who are doing SOA."
Miller said his company has been working on the move to the open source model for the past two years based on the success he was seeing from JBoss, now a division of Red Hat Inc., and MySQL.
Seeking to expand beyond "70 large scale deployments" today, he said XAware executives decided that what he calls "the traditional enterprise middleware infrastructure software selling approach" was not the way it wanted to continue to operate. "It was very expensive to sell it. It was very hard to get wide distribution. We looked at the success of companies out there like JBoss and MySQL and really started to buy into the idea that the commercial open source model was perfect for software that fits in that space where the user is an application developer who is highly technical and the adopter fits that model."
It took two years to ready the XAware tools for open source because they included technology from sources that did not conform to the GPL license, so some of the software had to be re-written. It is now includes an Eclipse-based design environment. At the same time XAware also configured its tools to fit the Spring framework, which it uses as its runtime, he said.
Linthicum said SOA developers looking for a way to integrate legacy data coming from a variety of legacy sources will find XAware tools helpful. He describes XAware as "a heterogeneous data abstraction environment that adds a tremendous amount of value to SOA because it puts schema volatility into a single configurable domain."
Miller said developers can use XAware XML integration layer tools based on SOA and Web services standards in a model he calls "data mashups."
"One of the things that describes us very well is we service-enable data from multiple sources," the company chairman said. "We connect multiple disparate data sources and expose those data sources as a service or if they are already services connecting with the services. The core of the technology is XML. Everything is represented through XML that is dynamically constructed so at runtime it has an XML model that embeds tags that describe all of the logic of getting to various data sources and transforming that data and applying conditional logic to it. It is dynamically constructing an XML data object. Those objects, because they can be constructed from multiple data stores of various kinds, they are data mashups."
Explaining the value of XAware to SOA developers, Linthicum said "Ultimately, XAware solves a key problem with data abstraction, the ability to take disparate databases and make them appear as a single unified database in a better logical sequence than if you're just externalizing the information from the physical. It takes very complex distributed environments, distributed databases from all kinds of database technologies, models and schemas and makes them appear as a single unified database, which is very advantageous when you're building an SOA."