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BEA brings software to online mall

The company looks to smooth the way for developers working with its WebLogic J2EE application server software through a deal with online marketplace ComponentSource.

BEA Systems on Monday announced a partnership with online marketplace ComponentSource to offer software components to Java developers.

The companies launched a BEA-specific store within the ComponentSource portal that lets developers using BEA's WebLogic application server software find and purchase software components and Web services. BEA said it plans to recruit third-party software companies to offer their wares online. ComponentSource will validate the components and host the online store.

Under the partnership, BEA also introduced two Web sites, or "galleries," reached from its Dev2dev developer portal. The galleries, which can also be accessed via the ComponentSource store, offer both free and for-fee components for BEA's WebLogic application server and WebLogic Workshop development tool.

With the ComponentSource deal, BEA is seeking to make it easier to develop software for its WebLogic J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) application server. WebLogic J2EE software runs applications written in the Java programming language--for example, applications to host an e-commerce Web site or to process financial risk formulas for equity traders.

"What we are trying to do...is make J2EE development more productive, so (programmers) can spend more time on application logic rather than spending a bunch of time on plumbing," said Scott Fallon, vice president of developer relations at BEA.

Software components, or prewritten chunks of code, save developers time by allowing them to drop the component into a software program, instead of writing the code themselves. For example, a Java component or Web service could present data in a specific document format or provide a credit card validation service. The components also can be reused.

Application developers who work with J2EE products tend to be more highly skilled and demand higher salaries than programmers who work with simpler languages such as Microsoft's Visual Basic.

That's both a blessing and a curse for BEA. Since few easy-to-use Java tools exist, it's also harder for programmers to learn BEA's software--and other Java application servers--in comparison with Microsoft's competing .Net architecture. The company is hoping to make its tools easier to use, so more developers will adopt its software.

In February, BEA introduced WebLogic Workshop, a Java-based tool designed to make it easier to create applications that adhere to Web services standards. By building a larger developer community around WebLogic Workshop, BEA hopes promote sales of its WebLogic application server and retain its leading share of the J2EE market in the face of competition from Microsoft and Oracle.