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Michael Gardner
director of development for Java products
Joe Nicholson
director of marketing enterprise tools
Inprise Corporation

JDJ: We know that Inprise has focused largely on Java with JBuilder. What else are you focusing on?
Nicholson: We're very focused on the business aspects of what companies are doing, and IT has really become a focus for how companies could be more competitive. You know, Java has a way of fundamentally changing the way people do IT, and so we're really looking at Java as the key component of the Inprise strategy, not only in the JBuilder IDE tool but also across all our products. Java is key to Inprise's long-term strategy because we believe in the fundamental business aspects and advantages of Java. We know that the ability to take Java code and put it on any platform throughout the enterprise is very important to companies.

JDJ: Could you tell us a little about the overall enterprise Java strategy at Inprise?
Nicholson: Sure. We're using Java as a fundamental development environment for an entire suite of tools. You know, part of what Inprise is doing is addressing the entire workflow process in applications, from development to deployment to integration and management, and we're using Java as a fundamental language and platform to develop tools across that entire spectrum.

JDJ: We've got a lot of vendors here at the Expo. What sets Inprise apart?
Nicholson: That's a good question. We take a fundamentally different approach. Our focus is on the entire development spectrum and being able to address what the customer needs, from development through deployment, through the integration with Legacy applications, on through to the actual live management of the application. And we're doing that in ways that are very important to customers. For one, we're completely standard-neutral, that is, we support every major standard in the marketplace. We're also platform-neutral in that we have Windows environments supporting common CORBA. We have Java environments supporting CORBA and we also run on a variety of UNIX machines. What we're about is what the customer needs, not necessarily what our particular IT agenda happens to be.

Michael Gardner
director of development for Java products
Joe Nicholson
director of marketing enterprise tools
Inprise Corporation

Gardner: We have a deep, deep, deep understanding, and have for years, of up-storing the computing of languages and [with the acquisition of Visigenic that was completed in early 1998] with distributed object computing. And it's the depth of experience and understanding of Java and the role Java can play in object-oriented computing that our personnel has that I think is very unique.
Nicholson: We're approaching things more from a business perspective, rather than simply from an IT perspective. We have a rich history in simplifying difficult development tasks, whether it was client/server development with Windows or Java development with JBuilder. We're going to do the same thing with the Inprise Application Server. This application server environment radically simplifies the often difficult task of writing three-tier applications. When you hear from customers, what they want to know is, "How can I get my application to market quicker?" "How can I make sure it's robust?" and "How can I make sure it's scalable?" and we're giving them the tools to do that.

JDJ: What do you have in the works? What's in the future for Inprise?
Nicholson: Well, we have lots of things in the works, such as continuing to enhance the integration of our IDEs with the application server we announced [in early December 1998]. In addition to having the Java platform supporting it, we'll also be supporting it on both our C++ and our Delphi tools. We have a variety of initiatives going on in Java for future releases of JBuilder. And again, if you look at what we are from a company perspective and a company strategy perspective, as application development continues to be more and more complicated, we‘re trying to make it all simpler so companies can extract the business benefits out of both Java and IT.

JDJ: What do you suggest for those companies as far as going about finding these solutions?
Nicholson: Well, I think probably the first thing is to get started today. In the case of our tools, you can begin working on JBuilder today and be compatible with the code that JBuilder ultimately produces because it's 100% Pure Java. So regardless of where companies want to go in the future, you know that the code you're producing in JBuilder today is 100% Pure Java and you can get all the benefits of being able to move that code throughout your organization, both on the client and on the server.

Michael Gardner
director of development for Java products
Joe Nicholson
director of marketing enterprise tools
Inprise Corporation

Gardner: But I also think that people have been in evaluation mode about Java. We've talked to customers who bought JBuilder or another proven tool and who have written some experimental applications but they haven't really moved - certainly some customers have, but in general I'd say that people have been learning about it but they haven't really committed to actually using it yet. I think with the release of Java 2 it's now ready, and so part of getting started now, I think, is actually realizing that Java is here and it's real and there's no reason you can't bet on it. And I think that's an aspect of what we're going to start seeing now with the release of Java 2.
Nicholson: The other aspect is that we're also now seeing the early adopters of Java technology really starting to reap the benefits of what Java can do both cross-platform and around their organizations. And I think over the next few months as the Java 2 platform really starts to be implemented, we're going to see some real success stories in terms of quantifiable benefits. We're basically committed to Java across our entire company because we see the business benefits and the return on investment that we just haven't seen with other operating and platform systems in the past. So I think it's a pretty exciting time to be in the marketplace.

Michael Smith
senior systems engineer
BEA WebXpress Division

JDJ: Of the products and services BEA offers, above and beyond those of your competitors, what would be the most appealing to a consumer?
Smith: We talk a lot about that, and I think what we have at BEA is a philosophy: when you buy software, a tool or especially middleware - which is what BEA focuses on - you're really buying a relationship. We feel we deliver what we promise, support what we promise and carry you all the way through. So in that regard, we think we offer people a very comprehensive set of middleware platforms that's unrivaled in the industry. Couple that with our focus on the Java technologies, as well as with WebLogic being the first server with an EJB deployment, and we feel end to end that we operate a relationship. And we feel that it's those relationships, every bit as much as the technology, that make us an important company.

Michael Gardner
director of development for Java products
Joe Nicholson
director of marketing enterprise tools
Inprise Corporation

JDJ: What do you see for your company and your products in the immediate future?
Smith: I think BEA is focusing on delivering the message for what their solution offers. I think we're working on a lot of neat things that we really haven't evangelized enough in the marketplace. So I really think we're focusing on telling our story, telling our relationships. And the big thing right now, obviously, is that the WebXpress division has to get the WebLogic 4.0 product out the door. The second phase of that is the implementation of a couple of the new Java enterprise APIs. JMS, the Java Messaging System, comes to mind. The other thing that's really important to the BEA product line is the integration of all our products. We want to make sure that our whole product line speaks together very well, and that developers have tools that work with all these things. We're working really close with Symantec right now and we're getting an integrated version of Cafe that allows developers to not only build the GUI but actually to build the client-side code as well, and deploy it all within the same developer infrastructure.

JDJ: What kind of audience are you targeting for these products?
Smith: I think we're definitely targeting the enterprise - people wanting to do large-scale deployments, and technologies using the Internet, Java and middleware platforms.

About the Author
Chad Sitler, host of SYS-CON Radio, is SYS-CON Interactive's senior Web designer. Chad can be reached at [email protected]

 

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