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Since BEA bought Crossgain in July, both companies have been quiet about their exact plans for using Crossgain technology. Even before the acquisition, Crossgain kept the technology a closely guarded secret.
The forthcoming framework, codenamed Cajun, will be the major driving force behind BEA's developer push, said Byron Sebastain, senior director for product management for BEA's framework.
Cajun, when it becomes available in April 2002, will be a framework for building Web services that includes a toolset and a runtime, said Sebastain. Cajun includes a tool that provides a visual way of building Web services, while at the same time letting developers write Java code.
Rikki Kirzner, an analyst at IDC, said Java developers are looking for a more visual approach. "I'd be real surprised if it doesn't happen. Visual is already better for building applications," Kirzner said.
Sebastain said Cajun is a fundamental piece of BEA's Web services architecture that enables the integration of various departments within a company. "Web services changes integration within the enterprise, as well as with outside partners," he said.
Cajun is designed for developers to build Web services in Java, on top of BEA's own WebLogic application server, Sebastain said. Developers will be able to use third-party tools with the framework, such as those from Borland and WebGain, he added
Another facet of BEA's push to attract developers is an updated version of its developer portal, which enables developers to create their own personalised portals and will serve as the foundation of a BEA developer community.
One source said the portal will resemble Microsoft's Developer Network (MSDN) and that BEA is planning to call the site MyBEA.com.
"One of the things that has been lacking in the Java space is developer support," said Sam Patterson, chief executive of ComponentSource, a broker of pre-existing Java and Windows-based application components.
Patterson added that Microsoft has successfully built a developer network and offers its programmers support. This, in turn, leads to greater use of the Microsoft platform. "Developer support is very important for Java - it eases development," he said.
BEA can attract developers through its framework and support network, Patterson said. "It's specifically about getting developers who build with J2EE and Enterprise JavaBeans to work on WebLogic," he added.