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Midrange Stuff - Hardware, Software & Services
OS/400 Edition
Volume 2, Number 13 -- April 2, 2002

SilverStream Tackles New WSFL Spec

by Alex Woodie

SilverStream, one of the vendors of Web application servers and J2EE development tools trying to make a go of it against formidable competition from IBM and BEA Systems, announced the general availability of new software last week. Leading a gaggle of new product releases in SilverStream's lineup is eXtend Composer 3.5, which features a new business-process-manager module for integrating existing business logic into new e-business applications, and support for the new Web Services Flow Language.

As the cornerstone of SilverStream's eXtend suite of software, and the company’s best hope for carving a niche in the competitive Web application server space, eXtend Composer is SilverStream's development platform for creating advanced J2EE applications and applications that can be delivered as Web services. Since late last year, SilverStream has supported applications created with eXtend Composer on application server platforms developed by IBM, BEA, and Oracle, as well as its own J2EE server, the SilverStream Application Server.

With the release of eXtend Composer 3.5, SilverStream claims to be the first commercial software vendor to support Web Services Flow Language, a new Web services specification developed by IBM. WSFL is a subset of XML and allows developers to diagram how Web services flow within complex business processes. According to a July 2001 article by IBM engineer James Snell, the core idea behind WSFL is the enablement of recursive composition. "The idea of recursive composition is simple: New business processes can be defined by combining existing business processes," he writes. With WSFL, "you can wrap a Web services interface (WSDL document) around a business process and treat it just like any other Web service you may wish to interact with."

SilverStream puts WSFL to work in a new module called the Composer Process Manager, included in the eXtend Composer 3.5 suite and available separately as well. Composer Process Manager consists of three essential components: the Process Designer, the Process Server, and the Process Administrator. By linking multiple Web services or other activities, these components allow developers to design process diagrams, to execute the process, or processes, simultaneously, and to administer to them.

eXtend Composer allows shops that rely on legacy applications to repurpose them as Web services. SilverStream connects to the data and business logic housed in OS/400, OS/390, Unix, and VMS hosts through connectors that use the 5250, 3270, and Telnet data streams. Other available connectors include those for HTML, Java Message Service, JDBC, MQSeries, CICS, electronic data interchange, and applications from SAP. Each connector costs $15,000 per processor.

The eXtend Composer development program runs on Windows workstations, while the Composer Enterprise Server can be deployed to leading J2EE application servers running under Windows NT, AIX, Solaris, or HP-UX operating systems.

A license for eXtend Composer includes the Composer Process Manager, the eXtend Workbench, and the eXtend Application Server. Deployment pricing starts at $40,000 per processor, SilverStream says. On its own, the Composer Process Manager costs $20,000 per CPU. For more information, visit

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