IBM Corp is today expected to take its first steps in delivering on a strategy to mix and match features across its portfolio of middleware through componentization, launching WebSphere Application Server 6.0.
The latest version of IBM’s Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) application sever introduces a cleaner architecture that separates software libraries into groups, linked via metadata for easier access and integration.
Also featured is management software from IBM’s Tivoli range, providing server management and deployment capabilities integrated through a management console.
IBM director of WebSphere infrastructure software Bob Sutor told ComputerWire these capabilities lay the framework for more extensive componentization in later editions of WebSphere Application Server. Componentization is hidden in version 6.0, but Sutor said this would become externalized to allow easier integration with other ISVs’ components.
Componentization is an IBM strategy to carry features across its extensive middleware brand, providing developers a single framework to build against, and giving end-users a more consistent look-and-feel across IBM’s middleware. IBM’s senior vice president and group executive Steve Mills first hinted at componentization last year.
There’s a lot of stuff under the covers that’s not externalized… we will continue to evolve this and at some point it will be externalized, Sutor said.
WebSphere Application Server 6.0 also introduces features to help speed-up and simplify the process of building and deploying J2EE applications, with increased automation. Code can be described and uploaded, with WebSphere reading the description and then automatically compiling and packaging the code to speed deployment.
Support for the drag-and-drop Java Server Faces (JSF) technology is also made native – the previous version of IBM’s application server required a separate JAR file.
Additionally, a series of new and updated wizards feature in the re-named WebSphere Studio Site Developer and WebSphere Studio Application Developer to reduce the number of steps taken in building web-side and server-side Java applications. WebSphere Studio Site Developer is renamed Rational Web Developer for WebSphere Software while WebSphere Studio Application Developer is now Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software.
Other architectural changes see the introduction of a messaging engine completely re-written in Java. IBM claimed up to five times improvement in performance, as the message engine can now run in the same virtual machine as customers’ Java applications. The company also claimed improved connection to Java applications and improved connectivity with MQ, IBM’s messaging middleware.
IBM is positioning WebSphere Application Server 6.0 as a secure platform for Service Oriented Architectures (SOAs). Along with improvements delivered through the Java messaging engine, the application server supports UDDI 3.0 providing digital signatures and the ability to subscribe to web services, WS-Transactions, Web Services Interoperability (WS-I) organization’s Basic Profile 1.0, and J2EE 1.4, providing core support for web services specifications.
Management is also improved, with updated failover. Administrators have the ability to extract data and tasks from a crashed server for export elsewhere, to ensure continuous service, instead of completely losing data during the reboot sequence.