App servers seek edge

In an effort to better differentiate their products, application server vendors are integrating prebuilt application frameworks that simplify building e-commerce sites.Among the latest to announce plans to deliver e-commerce components integrated with their servers are SilverStream Software Inc.

In an effort to better differentiate their products, application server vendors are integrating prebuilt application frameworks that simplify building e-commerce sites.

Among the latest to announce plans to deliver e-commerce components integrated with their servers are SilverStream Software Inc. and Bluestone Software Inc.

SilverStream, of Burlington, Mass., plans to have prebuilt application frameworks ready for Version 3.0 of its namesake application server, scheduled to ship in the first quarter of next year, officials said.

The Java frameworks will include storefronts with features such as product catalog, shopping cart and credit card processing; supply chain management, including invoicing and order entry; and corporate portals with content management features.

SilverStream plans to add a translator and transformation engine for passing documents formatted in XML (Extensible Markup Language), the emerging standard of choice in business-to-business commerce.

In addition, SilverStream 3.0 will support Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition, including Enterprise JavaBeans, Java Server Pages and the Java servlets API. Pricing for SilverStream 3.0 and the other components was not available.

Bluestone, of Mount Laurel, N.J., announced last week at Internet World in New York the Total-e-Business product suite for the company's Sapphire/Web application server and Bluestone XML Suite integration server.

The new suite, due in December, includes a prebuilt storefront; a personalization engine for delivering customized content; and a content management system. Pricing was not available.

The forthcoming e-commerce components are part of an evolving e-commerce platform that incorporates industry standards and integration technol ogy for passing data among business partners and suppliers. Although vendors are moving quickly to supply the tools, no company has shipped a complete package yet.

Companies such as application service provider Bidcom Inc., which has built its own applications on top of an Oracle Corp. database, look forward to buying more prebuilt components to shorten the time to market.

"I think it's important for us to leverage existing packages on the market, rather than do everything on our own," said Larry Chen, chief technology officer at the San Francisco company. Bidcom sells collaboration services to the construction industry.

SilverStream and Bluestone are only the latest to announce e-commerce solutions. Oracle last week released Version 4.0.8 of its application server, which has been upgraded to support Java 2. The Redwood Shores, Calif., company also started shipping JDeveloper 3.0, the Java development tool integrated with the server.

On the application integration front, TSI International Software Ltd. last month acquired application server vendor Novera Software Inc. (see story, Page 32). The $47.3 million acquisition gives TSI the ability to more easily connect its Mercator message broker with e-commerce applications.

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