BEA and Palm join forces over handheld Web services

Palm and BEA Systems have announced plans to encourage development of Web services-based applications for Palm handheld devices.

Palm and BEA Systems have announced plans to encourage development of Web services-based applications for Palm handheld devices.

Using Palm's Reliable Transport infrastructure technology and WebLogic Server 7.0, BEA's J2EE-based application server platform, the companies intend to make it possible to write single applications that will run on both BEA servers and Palm handhelds. Developers will be able to build Palm applications that can either be wireless or downloaded via a Palm cradle to interface to back-end business logic.

"The goal is for the first time to really bring enterprise data and Web services to the Palm handheld based on the BEA platform and to continue to provide the flexibility the enterprise needs in working with [its] application server of choice," said Judy Kirkpatrick, vice-president of strategic alliances at Palm.

Through the partnership, a BEA WebLogic Workshop component called a control will be developed to bridge WebLogic to the Palm, according to Chris Morgan, Palm director of strategic alliances.

Palm's Reliable Transport technology will be deployed to take care of low-level communications between the applications server and the handheld, Morgan said. Reliable Transport supports protocols such as GPRS.

Web services will be deployed with Reliable Transport to move XML and Soap messages back and forth between the application server and device, said Morgan.

"This [technology] allows structured data to move from the server to the Palm, and it's executed typically in a Java environment or a C++ environment from the Palm," Morgan said.

To run applications, the Palm client will require the Reliable Transport technology, an XML parser, Soap engine and, to run Java code, a Java Virtual machine from PalmSource. The Palm control resides on the application server.

The Palm-BEA arrangement will enable a single application to be developed for both the Palm and the server, Morgan said. "Right now, to do this, [developers] would have to do all the business logic in the BEA server. Today, they would then have to write a completely different application for the Palm," he said.

Applications such as travel or expense reports could be deployed on the Palm via the arrangement between the companies, according to Morgan.

A beta release of the BEA-Palm software combination is due later this year, with general availability planned for the first quarter of 2003.

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