Java Web services developers must wait until the middle of 2003 for a second release of BEA Systems Inc’s WebLogic Workshop development environment, but beta testers will get their hands on the product in March.
San Jose, California-based BEA is planning to launch Workshop 2.0 in the middle of 2003, sources told ComputerWire, pushing back delivery from the end of this year.
However, sources said BEA will give Java developers early access to the product when it launches a beta at the company’s annual eWorld conference running from 2 – 5 March.
BEA chief marketing officer Tod Nielsen confirmed the dates, saying BEA plans a 12-18 month product cycle with Workshop – version 1.0 was launched in July this year. That’s what customers are demanding, he claimed.
Commenting on the slip Nielsen said: In software, having foresight a year out is difficult. We have been on schedule since we launched [version 1.0] in July.
Prior to version 1.0’s launch last December, though, former chief executive officer Bill Coleman told ComputerWire that BEA planned a second version of WebLogic Workshop by the end of 2002 – up to five months after the first version shipped.
Workshop 2.0 faces an uncertain future next year, though, as there is still no clear indication of when businesses will resume spending on IT. Analyst Goldman Sachs said yesterday the outlook for vendors in 2003 is more complicated than 2002, because of economic and political factors that exist outside of the IT industry’s influence.
BEA has held its own in its most third fiscal quarter, swinging into profit as total revenue to October 31 was $234m, up from $219.6m. However, sales for the year-to-date are actually down 8% to $684.7m despite the company turning a $46.3m loss last year into net income of $48.8m.
Nielsen recently admitted economic realities have hindered uptake of BEA’s Dev2Dev community, because developers were less inclined to experiment with new technologies during recessionary times. BEA had hoped for one million Dev2Dev members by the end of 2002, but the company is now unclear when it will achieve that figure – membership currently stands at approximately 480,000.
It’s a little bit risky, said one Java consultant who said customers are not yet rolling out Web services on a large scale. The consultant, who wished to remain anonymous, said: It’s better to let [Workshop] stabilize.
However, one former chief technology officer, who also wished to remain anonymous, said rapid delivery of a successor to version 1.0 is important for BEA in order to maintain momentum among customers and to also block-out any competition.
You have to get it out fast… then you can slow down. Partly you are trying to block the competition and partly you are trying to make sure everything works well.
Version 2.0 is expected to further simplify the Java and Web services development experience for mainstream Java programmers, Java newbies and business consultants – BEA’s target audiences. Sources told ComputerWire that features include an improved ability to manipulate components.
If you are a hardcore Java programmer, [Borland Software Corp’s] JBuilder is the right tool. If you are building Web services or a [Microsoft Corp] Visual Basic developer, you will look more at this tool, a source said. 2.0 is going to be a big step for BEA.
Nielsen was unwilling to comment on features, but hinted at more User Interface (UI) development tools. Also expected are support for latest Web services security specifications, WS-Security and Security Assertions Markup Language (SAML).