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IBM Releases Preliminary Version of Development Platform

Call it IBM.NET.

IBM Corp. yesterday released the alpha version of its new platform-independent development tools, called IBM XML and Web Services Development Environment (WSDE).

WSDE will allow “HTML, Java, SQL and XML developers to quickly extend existing e-business applications to deliver business informational Web services,” according to an IBM press release.

Sound familiar? The release could have just as easily been written by Microsoft regarding its own .NET strategy. In addition, as its name implies, the technology undergirding the whole thing is XML, just as it is with .NET. 

Although WSDE can legitimately be viewed as the first direct competition for the .NET development platform, especially VisualStudio.NET, it also compliments another core Microsoft product. WSDE will run only on Windows NT and Windows 2000. Web services and clients created on WSDE, however, can be deployed on any Java platform.

IBM also released on its site its Web Services Toolkit, which provides the APIs and runtime environment needed to deploy any services developed through WSDE.

“Using Web Services,” IBM says, “an enterprise will be able to, on a global scale, collaborate with its customers and partners more effectively, develop innovative products faster, cheaper and better, reduce business cycle times, accelerate decision making, focus on your core competences and reduce high fixed cost structures.” Some web services already in place include online credit card transaction processing, package tracking applications that let you know exactly when your DVD copy of “The Matrix” will arrive, and shopping comparison programs.

WSDE may have one initial advantage over .NET: unlike Microsoft, IBM doesn’t position it as a “bet-the-company” strategy. With everything else IBM is involved in, there are plenty of other revenue streams if WSDE turns out to be a dry riverbed. -- Keith Ward

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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