iPlanet Adds EAI, XML Support

As part of its ongoing absorption of Forte products, iPlanet has added new JMS and XML interfaces between its application server flagship and its EAI and B2B e-commerce products.

Specifically, the EAI product—iPlanet Integration Server 2.1, a.k.a. Forte Fusion, has added support for Java Messaging Service (JMS) and HTTPs to allow direct communication with iPlanet Application Server. (XML support was already built in as the product’s core integration building block.) That will make it easier to build web commerce applications that interact with enterprise applications such as SAP or PeopleSoft.

iPlanet ECXpert 3.5 (the B2B product), which serves as an integration and translation hub for documents in EDI, email, and other formats, has belatedly added XML support, including parsing, translation, and support to XML communications over HTTP (with SSL encryption). Not surprisingly, it does not yet support SOAP, a Microsoft-developed protocol for communicating XML transactions over HTTP, which has drawn support from heavyweights such as Ariba, Commerce One, Compaq, and IBM.

Added to its existing JMS support, the EAI and B2B modules can now communicate with iPlanet Application Server, or any other J2EE-compliant appservers equivalent.

The JMS and XML support are necessary first steps for iPlanet to cobble together its offerings into what it bills a new “Integration Platform.” ECXpert is simply one of several iPlanet e-commerce modules, which also cover automated procurement and sell-side applications, credit authorization transactions, and market makers (its answer to Ariba and Commerce One).

In the long run, iPlanet plans to make all of these components of a common web commerce application platform. It still has a ways to go; iPlanet Application Server, ECXpert, and Integration server are still three separate products with different architectures and look-and-feels. IPlanet says it will eventually provide integration — a sizable task — but has wisely not committed itself to deadline dates.

The primary advantage today is that all products are supported by the same vendor. Today’s announcement adds J2EE integration to provide the same type of integration as if the products came from different vendors. It’s just a first step.