Websphere Commerce Suite Version 5.1 has been completely rewritten and integrates a number of new features. The most important, according to Sandra Carter, IBM's vice-president e-commerce marketing, is globalisation. It now allows users to customise Web sites for markets with different languages and currencies using a single control mechanism.
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Version 5.1 has extended mobile computing support, so users will be able to customise data formats to suit the device the data is being transmitted to.
Two software products have been integrated into the release. Commerce Accelerator is designed to help convert browsers into purchasing customers. "It has a GUI to create campaigns and promotions in under five minutes with no training," said Carter.
Commerce Analyser provides business intelligence analytical tools for turning data gathered from Web sites into usable information.
Although version 5.1 is written in Java, previous versions were written in a proprietary IBM language called Net.Data. This had inhibited software developers from writing for Websphere Commerce Suite because they needed to learn a new language to do so.
There are variants of Websphere Application Server for all the IBM server platforms, Windows NT and 2000, Solaris and Linux. The Windows NT version is available now. Other versions will arrive by the autumn.