The enhancements, codenamed Gibraltar, build on the next-generation WebLogic Platform 7.0, which consolidates portal, application server and enterprise application integration products into a single offering, said Mark Carges, president of BEA's enterprise framework division.
The WorkShop development component in 7.0 addressed the creation of Web-services-based applications; its next iteration will let developers create workflows around disparate applications and portals with the same runtime framework and development environment, said Carges.
Developers can now create a workflow, such as a partial shipment process, that might touch an SAP enterprise resource planning or supply chain application and connect to a customer-facing portal, he said. Carges claimed competitors such as IBM and its WebSphere platform do not enable this breadth of function from one product.
However, both IBM and Oracle claim to offer the same functions BEA is now rolling out.
Giga Information Group analyst John Rymer described BEA's move as "significant", and "is very critical" to its continued progress.
Such developers work at the level of business logic and do not want to deal with the lower-level plumbing and complexities of Enterprise JavaBeans or Java interfaces, he added.
The next version of the BEA WebLogic Platform, with the Gibraltar enhancements will be out in mid-2003. Pricing and packaging information is not yet available.