At IBM Corp, a bunch of jeans-clad Java evangelists has taken to the streets to spread the word – Java is at the heart of everything IBM is doing. It would appear that IBM’s time may be coming again, as the world comes full circle back to the glory days of network computing with centralized […]
At IBM Corp, a bunch of jeans-clad Java evangelists has taken to the streets to spread the word – Java is at the heart of everything IBM is doing. It would appear that IBM’s time may be coming again, as the world comes full circle back to the glory days of network computing with centralized servers enabling horizontal distribution of applications throughout the entire enterprise. Java is the technology IBM is now backing as the key to unlock the power of all those systems already out there. It will provide the glue, the extensions, the integration, in short everything needed to breathe new life into existing enterprise systems, as well as opening up opportunities for new devices to be part of the mix, the preachers say. Java will be in everything from the toaster to the mainframe. David Gee, IBM’s worldwide Java marketing manager and chief evangelist, says Java will enable customers to work quicker, faster, cheaper, which, he says, is exactly what everyone is looking for. By Java-enabling existing enterprise applications, companies can open up their systems to Internet commerce, or to internal intranet systems. An airline company with a mainframe-based reservations system would be able to offer reservations over the Internet, linking directly to the legacy system, without changing legacy code. The Java gospel is currently being spread both within IBM and outside. Gee and his team have an education program for system developers and software vendors.
Java Validation Centers
IBM is supplying a CD-ROM called Developer Connection, of both its own Java tools and technologies and those of other vendors, to show developers what is available. In the new year, the company will set up a number of Java Validation Centers, where developers will be able to test their applications on multiple vendors’ systems. Developers will also be able to test programs over the Internet, the company said. The company will also boast a worldwide Java implementation team of more than a thousand people, whose job it will be to assist people piloting Java applications and train and educate the development community. Internally, Gee’s team is out to educate IBM’s varied and disparate businesses to think Java in everything. All new product plans throughout the organization now have to include Java, Gee said. In October, the company’s launch of OS/2 Warp version 4.0 was somewhat hijacked by the ‘J-word’ (CI No 3,014), and this week at the Internet World show, Lou Gerstner’s keynote address was peppered with David Gee’s Ubiquitous Java message. IBM’s Java team is very proud that it is spearheading a new way of working in a company that got where it is today by being proprietary and conservative. With Java it is now embracing another company’s technology, the team enthuses. It is also collaborating with the major players in the industry on standards for Java. The group cites the specifications for JavaBeans on which some fifteen companies collaborated, with each company bringing its own area of expertise to the table. IBM’s contribution was in the area of enterprise system integrity and security, it said. Gee accepts that IBM is only one of many companies on the Java mission. One of IBM’s major strengths, he says, is in business critical systems. More than 80% of the world’s business data sits behind a CICS transaction processing system, he said. With IBM’s CICS Gateway for Java (CI No 3,038), businesses can extend the use of their CICS applications, without changing any of the host transaction code. IBM also sees opportunities through Java of expanding its markets out of the traditional large corporate arena, to enabling start-up companies and small businesses exploit the potential of Java. The company will look to license its technology to enable the reseller channel to support small businesses, it said. This time last year, IBM’s Java team consisted of eight people in its Hursley labs in the UK. There are now 19 laboratories in 12 countries which are actively working on Java. The company that reckons it has been the number one networ
king company since the 1950’s, truly believes that its time is coming again, this time thanks to a technology it did not invent, but happens to be in the right place at the right time to exploit. Time, no doubt, will tell.