BEA launches WebLogic 8.1

Executives from BEA Systems outlined their vision of BEA as an integration software supplier at the official launch of BEA's...

Executives from BEA Systems outlined their vision of BEA as an integration software supplier at the official launch of BEA's WebLogic 8.1 product.

WebLogic 8.1, which began shipping on 15 July, represents a major upgrade to the previous version of the product, WebLogic 7.0, because it is the first time WebLogic's portal, application server and development tool have been integrated so completely, said chief executive officer Alfred Chuang.

The latest version of WebLogic also features a greatly expanded role for its WebLogic Workshop development tool, which can now be used to build custom Java applications as well as WebLogic Portal applications. Previously it was only used for the development of web services, BEA said.

This more integrated WebLogic reflects a focus on application integration rather than just software development, said BEA's chief marketing officer, Tod Nielsen.

"We believe that integration and development will become one," he said. "All integration projects have some development aspect to them, and all development projects have some integration aspect to them."

As well as continuing to support the emerging web services standards, BEA will focus on ease of deployment and application security as WebLogic evolves, Nielsen said. The company is already working on integrating the software it picked up in its February acquisition of security management supplier CrossLogix.

"We are absolutely expanding our mark to be much more than just an application server," he said.

Virgin Mobile USA  is already using WebLogic to build both an application server and a web services infrastructure for its mobile telephone services. 

"For us it was a leap of faith to go to a combined integration and application environment," said Michael Parks, the chief information officer of Virgin.

The fact that WebLogic itself is now an integrated application was a selling point for Virgin, said Parks, who had also evaluated IBM's WebSphere.

Robert McMillian writes for IDG News Service

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