Java pioneer brings Web services to Europe

Roman Stanek, the founder of Java developer NetBeans, is bringing his new Web services venture - Systinet - to Europe

Systinet, an independent provider of Web services development tools, is opening European offices in the UK and Germany. Analysts agree that although smaller Web services players -- such as Systinet -- have the best technology, a cautious market is likely to stick with larger providers. However, Systinet has already signed up T-Mobile, Amazon and JP Morgan for its WASP (Web Applications and Services Platform) product and claims to have more than 100 customers worldwide. "Every single software company will support Web services in the near future," said Systinet founder and chief executive Roman Stanek, who previously founded NetBeans, a Java company that was bought by Sun in 1999. "Customers require it." WASP creates and runs Web services applications based on SOAP, the XML-based lightweight protocol for exchange of information in a decentralised, distributed environment -- Stanek's favoured term for such applications is "service oriented architectures". The developer part of WASP is given away free (and always will be, said Stanek). The server, which deploys the Web services, costs $2,000 per CPU, and an extra $10,000 buys a UDDI directory -- a second server that supports reuse of large Web services implementations within a single company. UDDI was defined as a global service, but Stanek reckons that is not feasible so he created the directory server for intra-enterprise use. Stanek is outspoken about all aspects of Web services. He remained at Sun for only a year (as director of engineering for software platforms): "I left when it became clear that Sun saw Web services as a Microsoft technology that was trying to destroy Sun," he said. "There was no support for SOAP, UDDI and so on." "The big benefit is that Web services are loosely coupled," said Stanek. "They let you focus on the business logic and isolate it from changes in the technology. This was not possible with previous distributed computing approaches such as CORBA." Systinet is attempting to distance itself from standards arguments: "WASP is recommended by Microsoft as the bridge between .Net and Java," said Stanek, who feels that the distance between .Net and J2EE is mainly due to implementation, not the definition of the standards: "The problem is not SOAP, it is XML schema support. XML is a 500-page document, and implementations by Microsoft, Sun and IBM all vary." Stanek believes that performance is the biggest worry for users, disagreeing with the widespread idea that security is the biggest barrier to more widespread adoption: "Security is less of a worry, because people are using Web services for internal applications." To match this internal bias, WASP's UDDI is a private one intended for use within one enterprise: "In 2000, when I heard the idea of a grand public UDDI, that would be a public cloud, I thought 'how can anyone believe this sci-fi of dynamic late binding of services?'"

For a weekly round-up of the enterprise IT news, sign up for the Enterprise newsletter. Tell us what you think in the Enterprise Mailroom.