WRQ Verastream 5.5 Delivers Better Integration with Microsoft
February 17, 2004 Alex Woodie
OS/400 shops looking to modernize their 5250 applications with Microsoft‘s .NET technologies may want to check out the latest release of WRQ‘s Verastream integration software. With the general availability of Verastream Version 5.5, which WRQ announced last week, the Seattle company delivered support for Microsoft’s BizTalk Server 2004, as well as closer integration with Visual Studio .NET. WRQ and Verastream also received kudos for leadership in the market for programmatic application modernization tools by IT analyst Gartner.
Verastream allows companies to build Java or .NET wrappers around existing host application datastreams, such as 5250 or 3270, thereby enabling host systems to play a part in the coming Web services world–a process vendors these days refer to as building service-oriented architectures, or SOAs.
WRQ has made number of technological enhancements with Verastream 5.5, and nearly all of them have to do with supporting the Microsoft .NET development camp and furthering the quest for SOAs. With Verastream 5.5, WRQ lets users deliver interfaces to existing applications through a new .NET component, via support for the full .NET API, with native .NET DataSet support, the company says. This release also supports the automatic generation of a number of Microsoft-based Web components, including .NET Class Libraries and COM Objects; ASP.NET and ASP Web applications; and .NET Web services.
Verastream 5.5 also provides full integration with Microsoft’s BizTalk 2004. BizTalk Server is Microsoft’s integration broker software offering, which serves as the bridge linking users’ enterprise systems with new applications built using Microsoft development tools. The modular product suite includes an array of “adapters,” which support major ERP packages from PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards, and SAP, and industry-specific “accelerators” such as those for HIPAA and RosettaNet.
WRQ says the new support for Microsoft’s BizTalk 2004 with Verastream 5.5 provides a non-invasive, bi-directional, real-time approach to connecting OS/400, OS/390, Unix, OpenVMS, and HP 3000 hosts with new applications. For midrange shops, it means another option for opening AS/400 and iSeries applications to their Visual Studio developers.
Other enhancements delivered with Verastream 5.5 include new “event handlers,” which WRQ says will streamline the repetitive process of rolling out client-side programs, such as currency, date, and text conversions; data-entry validation; and user authentication and access controls. The new release also supports “HTML on the fly” rejuvenation of Unix-based VT datastreams.
Dale Vecchio, an analyst with Gartner, also gave WRQ a positive review in his annual round up of the Programmatic Integration Server market in December 2003. “WRQ has also demonstrated improvement, and its position has moved up and to the right” in the Magic Quadrant, which means the company’s ability to execute (up) and its strength of vision (right) both improved, Vecchio wrote.
WRQ shares elite company in Vecchio’s December 2003 Magic Quadrant. The only vendor in this market with a stronger capability to execute is IBM, while the only companies with more completeness of vision are Jacada and ClientSoft. Vecchio also gave WRQ “positive” or “promising” ratings in each of three main categories, including corporate viability, marketing offerings, and customer service/support, in a November 2003 write up on WRQ.
Verastream software represents one of the few offerings (in addition to ClientSoft’s ServiceBuilder offering) that combine presentation and programmatic interfaces into one product, according to Vecchio. The analyst goes on to say, “Verastream exposes much of the legacy information it can access in a way that can be consumed by Structured Query Language (SQL) statements in a new development environment. This is an extremely common and accepted programming interface and shields the developers from issues related to the legacy implementation.”
For more information on WRQ or Verastream, go to www.wrq.com.