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End of a year, start of a new era

Expect to see less expensive, less complicated Web development tools.

Well, another year has come to an end. We saw some exciting new developments in the world of WebSphere during 2002 with the advent of new Eclipse-based development tools. On the iSeries we saw an awesome new version of the WebFacing product as well as wizard-based support for PCML to integrate legacy applications (RPG or COBOL) with new Java Applications.

The WDSC (free) client and its big brother the WSAD with support for Enterprise Java Beans are clearly world-class Java and J2EE development tools for the Java developer. If you are an experienced Java developer or have a good foundation in object-oriented technology with C++, these tools are the ultimate toolset.

Webfacing and PCML provide a method for the rest of us to get started. Life is still tough for those trying to find their way through object-oriented technology and leverage the best of WebSphere.

However, IBM understands the need for everyone to be able to develop Web-based applications using advanced J2EE technologies but without having to pay the price of an extremely steep learning curve or hiring new expensive and highly skilled Java developers. And so it has announced its WebSphere Application Server Express for iSeries and other platforms. This may be free or cost very little, depending on your current configuration. It is bundled with the WSSD 5.0 (WebSphere Studio Site Developer) or the iSeries specific WDSC (which includes WSSD).

The goal of these new versions is to bring J2EE-based technology to everyone. The versions that will begin shipping this month for some platforms (followed by others throughout the first quarter) have many new features, wizards and functions designed to ease the learning curve and get you from concept to production with as few pains as possible.

This is the beginning of a new ERA. IBM is not resting on the amazing new features its added, including something called "Cheat Sheets," which guide a novice developer through tasks, or the dramatically improved examples, help text and enhanced tutorials. Watch for a rapid series of enhancements and new releases or even new products that will eventually reduce J2EE development to a task akin to writing a document in your favorite word processor.

About the author: Bob Cancilla is managing director of IGNITe/400, an electronic iSeries 400 Internet users group. He is also author of the book Getting Down to e-business with AS/400 and IBM eServer iSeries: Built for e-business.


  • IBM targets smaller shops with new Express line of WebSphere products
    IBM has recognized that small and medium size businesses need low-cost, easier-to-use products that can be leveraged by the thousands of companies that can't afford or don't have the technical expertise on staff to take advantage of its high-end WebSphere products. As a result, these smaller shops can look forward to the new "Express" line of WebSphere products. They are designed to be quickly and easily installed, and they provide an immediate return on investment.
  • WebSphere Express to replace Tomcat bundled with HTTP Server
    With the addition of WebSphere Express, iSeries users will have a robust and sophisticated environment to migrate existing applications to Java and develop new applications. But more important is the possibility of IBM bundling it with OS/400, which could lead to simplifying the operating system, says Bob Cancilla.
  • IBM initiative reaches out to mid-market
    IBM has announced software, training and support initiatives to help business partners deliver IBM solutions to mid-sized companies. The first product, WebSphere Portal Express is due out in December. IBM will then release a database management system, plus Web access and security infrastructure software. Pricing is expected to be lower than IBM normally charges to large enterprises.

Dig Deeper on Web Tools

Q&A: Mason calls WDSC the tool of choice for Web development beginners

Read feedback to this Q&A.

iSeries shops are placing Web development and Web enablement at the top of their priority lists. But if you're just starting out, where do you begin? There are so many options that choosing the one right may seem like an impossible task.

Jim Mason, president of ebt-now, talked with assistant editor Deb Tart recently at the Northeast IBM User Conference in Framingham, Mass., about tools and techniques for developing for the Web and what his Web tool preferences are.

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