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WebSphere Express to replace Tomcat bundled with HTTP Server

High hopes for IBM to bundle WebSphere version with OS/400.

IBM has changed directions once again. IBM has announced a new low- or no-cost (to be announced at a later date) version of WebSphere for iSeries called WebSphere Express. This version will replace the IBM-supported version of Tomcat currently bundled with the HTTP Server based on Apache (5722-DG1 at V5R1 and V5R2).

If the server turns out to be a no-charge offering bundled with OS/400, this will be an excellent decision by IBM leveraging the WebSphere product line. The recent announcement of the WDSC (WebSphere Development Studio Client) for iSeries bundles a number of tools that Web-enable legacy RPG and COBOL applications and provide Java development tools.

With the addition of the WebSphere Express application server, iSeries users will have a robust and sophisticated environment to migrate existing applications to Java and develop new applications. While the new server is to be limited to a single server, servlets, JSPs, and Web services, you will have everything you need in one integrated platform to develop sophisticated Java applications.

IBM has committed to providing equivalent functionality to the current Tomcat 3.2 and 4.x versions and will provide the IBM database connection pooling leveraging the enhancements at V5R2.

Perhaps an even more important aspect of WebSphere Express is the ability for IBM to leverage this product for its own internal software products bundled with OS/400. Maybe we will see the end of bloated thick client applications (Operations Navigator) and a reduction in the number of server jobs running on the iSeries if IBM adopts a strategy of migrating their code to the WebSphere Application Server.

Overall, this new offering holds tremendous promise for the future enhancement and simplification of OS/400 and to enable Java-based application development.

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.


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