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BEA to go organic on SOA tools

Déjà vu?

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After a string of middleware and tools acquisitions, BEA Systems expects to build its own SOA composition environment for the fledgling AquaLogic product line.

Mark Carges, executive vice president for BEA's business interaction division, said BEA should be expected to "build something organically" to fill the current hole in its AquaLogic strategy that is the lack of a composition environment.

Speculation has been rife over BEA's plans for SOA composition since the company spent much of the last year building out the runtime aspect of AquaLogic. Notable acquisitions in this strategy included portal specialist Plumtree for "user interaction" and Fuego, which gave BEA a business process management server.

Users, such as they are for a set of products that account for just 10 per cent of BEA's revenue, are working with tools that already ship with Plumtree and Fuego to construct service routing and transactional rules. That means, though, a lack of common interfaces and the need to switch between the different environments using tabs.

Aside from a common look and feel, BEA needs a single composition environment that is simple enough for line-of-business managers to build applications and services that wrap up security, data integration and messaging functionality buried in BEA's AquaLogic middleware layer.

Carges gave no indication when BEA would launch its composition environment, but said it was right for BEA to provide its own technology, rather than buy. "It has to come last [and it has to come] from the vendor that owns all the parts," he said.

It should be noted BEA's operating expenses are growing at more than 20 per cent per quarter while R&D runs at $150m to $200m, which could indicate work is already under way to build AquaLogic's composition environment.

Carges ruled out extending, or re-using, BEA's current composition environment, WebLogic Workshop. Remember WebLogic Workshop? That was hot when the buzz was about composing "web services" and it let developers import Java code constructed using other vendors' integrated development environments.

According to Carges, WebLogic Workshop's support for open source such as Spring and Hibernate make developers its primary audience. "Composer is for line-of-business professionals. It's about 'how do I configure and put policy and meta data out there'," he said.

Sounds a little like what they used to say about WebLogic Workshop. ®

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