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IBM gears portal for software developers

IBM is courting developers with a new Web site aimed at giving them the news, resources, and advice needed to build better software.

IBM is courting developers with a new Web site aimed at giving them the news, resources, and advice needed to build better software.

The site, called DeveloperWorks, takes a look at the Java programming language, the XML Web standard, as well as the open-source Linux operating system. The site also plans to focus on the software infrastructure needed for building e-commerce sites, and Unicode, which helps developers build software using languages other than English.

The site, which will officially launch in two weeks, has been in beta testing for several months. IBM said it plans to offer a mix of industry news, downloadable programming tools, and free tutorials on the site.

In a thinly veiled swipe at rival Microsoft, which is also attempting to court developers with its own Web site and tools, IBM executives say DeveloperWorks will give developers the resources they need to build software using technology based on open standards.

"There are publishing portals out there developing third-party content and there's vendor portals based on [vendor] platforms. We can fill the space in between those two business models," said Chris Bahr, DeveloperWorks' program director.

"Because we're committed to open industry standards, that enables us to put together a Web site that acts as an honest broker of news, information, and emerging technologies," he added.

Nevertheless, the Web site is heavy on IBM technology, including software from its AlphaWorks division, which develops tools for XML and other emerging Web technologies.

But users who do a search on the site can also gain access to tools and information from other companies. For example, the Web page offers links to Sun Microsystems' Java Web site, as well as a link to download an XML parser co-developed by Microsoft and DataChannel. An XML parser dissects and reads XML text within an application, much like a Web browser reads HTML to generate Web pages on a computer.

When IBM officially launches DeveloperWorks on September 28, Bahr said the company will announce partnerships with other software makers and content publishers which will also have a presence on the site.

IBM currently republishes stories from computer trade magazines, the business press, and wire services, but also has its own editorial staff to provide original content, Bahr said.