BEA prepares WebLogic Platform 7.0 launch
Reports on Infoworld yesterday claimed that BEA is about to launch its WebLogic Platform 7.0, a suite of products aimed at pulling all of the disparate WebLogic products under one environment. It sounds like a very intelligent move from the firm and one that can only help it along the road to a strengthened position in the application infrastructure marketplace. However, it is rather late.
WebLogic Platform 7.0 is essentially a bundle. It consists of WebLogic Portal, WebLogic Integration, previously known under the 'Liquid Data' moniker, WebLogic Workshop, WebLogic Apps server and lots of other little tools and services that come together to provide a complete suite of products.
As you might expect from a product consolidation strategy like this, all of the products will look and feel the same, giving them something like a harmonious product set. And, more than likely, it will be boosted very shortly with a management application that will enable administration of the whole suite -- although that may actually be included in the official announcement next week.
Using this platform as a whole, BEA hopes to provide developers with a comprehensive, easy to use environment to develop applications for Web services. Key, therefore, is the inclusion of BEA's first development environment, the WebLogic Workshop.
WebLogic Workshop is built around technologies acquired when BEA bought Crossgain. It's a development environment that should enable applications to be built easily using technologies like XML, Java and web services standards. This though is where the crux of the challenge lies for BEA. This is really the first time it has delivered a product like this - and it simply has to be a killer.
If BEA is pinning its hopes on this product, as the solution that will make developers build for the WebLogic environment, then BEA must give the ability to do full, end-to-end business processes. If it doesn't do so, BEA will be quickly trounced by the more established products from Sun, IBM etc.
Still, that aside, and ignoring the lateness of this development, this is a much needed move from BEA. The application server battle is no more. Today the vendors are fighting to defend their territory with complete platforms, offering complete services. So BEA had to do this. We can probably expect to see Tuxedo, BEA's transaction manager, being dumped into this product suite too over time. Nowadays an incomplete bundle simply will not do, and BEA, rather belatedly, is now trying to address that.
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