Progress eyes app outsourcing

Progress Software plans to employ emerging Java and Extensible Markup Language (XML) standards to unite its Apptivity and Progress servers, while positioning its existing and future products as platforms for application service providers (ASPs).

In the fourth quarter, Progress will deliver Vader, or Apptivity Server 4.0, an Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB), XML, and Java Messaging Service (JMS) enabled server that will precede Vader+ in 2000, the company said. JMS is an emerging standard that will be part of Java 2, Enterprise Edition, in the fourth quarter. It will offer a cross-platform message-queuing alternative to IBM's MQSeries and Microsoft's MSMQ middleware.

The culmination of Progress' universal application architecture, Vader+ will form an integrated platform and subsume the current Apptivity and Progress servers. Vader+ will support Java, fourth-generation language (4GL), Cobol, and C++ applications, as well as the Apptivity and Progress application and tools portfolio, according to Jeff Weil, vice president at Progress.

Progress officials stressed that the servers will merge well. "It's where everything is headed with the integration of 4GL with EJB and messaging, and extending the capabilities of those. It also takes the business logic and the client/server and Web worlds and adapts them for Internet commerce," Weil said.

Progress will also announce soon its Aspen Program, an "enabling" effort for ISVs that want to move quickly to becoming ASPs.

"We allow the use of best-of-breed apps, but without hiring large IT organisations," Weil said.

The ASP market fill quickly, he said, by smaller ISVs and midsize enterprises that will revert to a system much like the old time-sharing model -- except with a low cost, easy entry, public networks, and graphically modern applications.

"It's the fastest way to get to the Web and extend into e-commerce and get to use applications that many businesses couldn't afford -- without going in-house," Weil said.

Specifically, Progress will partner with Citrix Systems' MetaFrame technology to deliver its thousands of client/server applications from many ISV partners via the Web.

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