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As part of the strategy the company will use the Gartner Symposium/ITXpo in Orlando, USA, to launch Novell exteNd Version 4.0, a development suite for building, integrating, and deploying Web applications and Web services.
ExteNd 4.0 is priced at $90,000 (£57,517) per server CPU and follows Novell's acquisition of SilverStream Software in July. "Novell did not acquire SilverStream for its app server. The main thrust was the exteNd environment to put on top of J2EE," said Novell chief technical officer Alan Nugent. "Novell's customer base is excited to have a development environment in the core product."
New features in exteNd 4.0 include J2EE 1.3 compliance and expanded platform support for BEA Systems and IBM application servers. The release also enhances exteNd's portal functionality and presentation capabilities with a visual drag-and-drop customisation tool that lets developers customise the portal experience. For example, developers can use the tool to create portal themes or to define the presentation characteristics.
"[We] now have a complete portal story with Novell Portal Services and Extend Director. [SilverStream] was missing components and portlets; Novell was missing a strong framework for business process and workflow," said Steve Benfield, chief technology evangelist for Web application development at Novell. "We have one product team doing both now."
Novell has detailed a roadmap that explains how the company intends to pursue its new strategy. By the first quarter of 2003, Novell will port SilverStream's app server to NetWare. Meanwhile, in the first half of 2003, the company plans to combine exteNd with its directory and identity and policy-based management technologies, enabling developers to inject security features such as single sign-on into applications from the ground up.
"Right now, security across the corporate enterprise isn't built into the apps themselves," said Nugent. "But looking ahead to when you have 100 or 500 Web services working in your enterprise over the next few years, the management complexity just starts growing. You will need to think about [security] in advance."
As part of its approach to securing applications and services, Novell said it will support industry standards that are now emerging. In keeping with the tech-agnostic theme, Novell has also begun making its NetWare services available on Linux, Solaris, and Windows, Nugent said.
Also on the roadmap, exteNd 5 will include support for emerging portal standards such as JSR (Java Specification Request) 168, WSRP (Web Services for Remote Portals), and WSIA (Web Services for Interactive Applications).
Forthcoming support for JSR 168 will help further integrate Novell's existing Portal Services offering with exteNd Director, Benfield said.
The three pieces of exteNd 4.0 include exteNd Director, which is Novell's interaction play for exporting services and Web apps to end-user targets such as its portal; exteNd Composer, which is an XML-based application integration broker used to create new Web services out of existing process logic and applications in back-end systems; and the application server.