The company released management tools that will allow companies to offer secure Web services and develop ways to bill customers. The company also updated its Web Services Toolkit, a starter kit that provides developers the rudimentary technology needed to begin building and running Web services.
The tools are part of IBM's plan to deliver software as a service over the Web to PCs, cell phones and other handheld devices. IBM competes against Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, BEA Systems, Oracle, Borland and others in building and selling the software that allows companies to deliver those Web services. Microsoft in February will ship its Visual Studio.Net suite of software development tools keyed to building Web services.
IBM's Web Services Hosting Technology is a group of management tools for businesses to offer Web services. It allows businesses to track the use of Web services, so they can bill customers through a variety of subscription-based models, such as pay-per-use or a flat fee for a period of time, said Scott Cosby, manager for IBM's Web services marketing team.
Another software tool, called the Web Services Gateway, allows companies to securely offer Web services by handling security functions, such as user authentication, Cosby said.
IBM's new Web Services Toolkit 3.0 features a raft of incremental updates that include support for the third version of SOAP, called Apache Axis, which serves as a common communications format that allows businesses using different computing systems and software programming models to connect and conduct transactions. The new toolkit also offers an adapter that allows businesses to easily connect to Lotus software.
IBM's new software development tools are free and available for download on its AlphaWorks Web site.