by Michael Meloan<!-- IMG --> Java.sun.com/images/insets/inset.unleash.jpg" width=147 border=0>
March 20, 2001 -- The benefits of building ecommerce software applications from pretested, server-side JavaTM components have taken a major step forward. Using the iPl.NETTM Application Server, the Flashline Component Manager, and Enterprise JavaBeansTM (EJBTM) components from Diamelle, Compoze, Evergreen, and OMIX, development teams now have access to a comprehensive palette of solution-building tools. Together, these companies have unveiled a complete open-standards-based strategy for developing building-block ecommerce solutions using independently developed EJB components.
Developers can select from a wide range of powerful components, including commerce and transaction services for order management, groupware and collaboration, catalog management, customer relationship management (CRM), and financial services components. Using components streamlines the development process and improves reliability because they are effectively prebuilt, pretested blocks of code that eliminate the need to develop entire applications from scratch.<!-- SIDEBAR -->
The iPlanetTM Component Repository
The Flashline Component Manager, Enterprise Edition (CMEE), provides the first comprehensive EJB component reuse solution (see image). Flashline's CMEE will be a core element of the infrastructure that will enable iPlanet's sales engineers and professional services consultants to evaluate independently developed EJB components for use in customer engagements. Ultimately, the goal of this effort is to create an iPlanet-sponsored component evaluation center, where developers can preview the EJB component offerings from select vendors offering products based on EJB architecture.
"CMEE defines a series of steps that enable iPlanet to efficiently manage its growing repository of EJB components," notes Charles Stack, president and CEO of Flashline. "Components are tracked throughout each step of this process. Ratings and reviews document component status, quality, and usability, and only components that have met documentation and testing standards are accepted into the repository."
List of components, based on Enterprise JavaBeansTM architecture, available from Diamelle, Compoze, OMIX, and Evergreen.
iPlanet developer newsgroups.
Components may be used out of the box, or customized to fit special requirements. In addition, Java language class inheritance can extend components with new methods and capabilities, leveraging existing pretested component code. This is a development model the finance department can get behind, because components can also be integrated with legacy applications. This preserves and extends the value of previous development efforts, and increases the value of any legacy integration project using components.
While EJB server components are discrete building blocks, the functions of each component are published and made available so that other components can be designed to interoperate seamleSSLy through the EJB architecture interface. Application development then becomes a matter of assembling appropriate components into a configuration that results in an enterprise-class application.
The superior architecture of the EJB component model is the result of an industry-wide collaboration with a fiRM commitment to open standards. A significant feature of the EJB model is that server-specific "plumbing" is handled by the EJB server infrastructure, allowing developers to focus on creating business logic, rather than infrastructure services. This standards-based strategy allows application functions to be modified without rearchitecting the entire configuration. As a result, software development time is reduced considerably, while reliability and maintainability are markedly improved.
The EJB architecture defines a standard model for Java application servers supporting the "Write Once, Run AnywhereTM" paradigm. The iPlanet Application Server was the first to be certified with the Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EETM) Compatibility Test Suite, as fully compatible with the J2EE specification.
The iPlanet Application Server supports the following J2EE technologies:
The iPlanet Application Server provides a number of additional services to the EJB architecture functionality, including:
These features extend the reliability and portability of the J2EE environment.
J2EE software programs do not require modification to support the iPlanet Application Server failover feature. In the event of a system crash or power failure, failover is handled automatically by the EJB container software.<!-- IMG -->
"All the vendors involved in this partnership fully support the concept of an open EJB technology marketplace," says Douglas Dooley, iPlanet's Application Server product marketing manager. "The partnership between iPlanet and the EJB component vendors provides flexibility and choice for developers, and EJB technology standards help ensure that all the players interoperate. iPlanet is completely committed to openness -- it is a business and technology decision that makes sense."
Here is what the EJB vendor partners have to say about their offerings:
"As an independent component vendor, we embrace the successful model that EJB [components] have enabled -- [to] develop components according to the industry standard, and deploy those components on all the platforms that embrace the standard," says Suneet Shah, CTO. "Diamelle supports the model that iPlanet is promoting with their open partnerships for EJB components. We believe it provides large benefits for customers."
"By adhering to the EJB specification of the J2EE standard, Compoze is able to provide developers the most advanced collaborative and community functionality for building eServices and eSupport solutions, while protecting against proprietary solution lock-in," says SCOtt Andress, COO.
"Business owners are tired of investing their e-business future into proprietary e-commerce servers and applications that require and dictate proprietary extensions and limitations," said David Clare, executive vice president of Evergreen Internet. "The next generation of e-business solutions must be built on open application components, frameworks, and open standards, that do not dictate how businesses can change and automate their future to ensure long-term returns and ultimately control their destiny."
"We have been working on EJB components since the technology was first introduced in 1998, and we continue to be committed to the benefits of developing components that run within standards-compliant environments -- such as the iPlanet Application Server," says Terry Lillie, CTO. "OMIX's auctioning, B2B, and e-commerce components, running on the iPlanet Application Server, are ideal frameworks for developers who need to implement e-business solutions rapidly."
Software development is evolving away from line-by-line coding of complex solutions. Using prebuilt components that can be snapped together dramatically reduces the developer's burden, while improving reliability, efficiency, and maintainability. EJB server components are a primary example of this new paradigm in action. The partnership between iPlanet, Flashline, Diamelle, Compoze, OMIX, and Evergreen offers developers a broad set of choices in powerful component driven ecommerce technologies.
Enterprise JavaBeansTM Technology
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