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Start-up debuts XML-based server

WebMethods' new XML-based server is designed to help companies integrate browser-based applications and data with new and existing applications.

Start-up webMethods today announced an XML-based server to help companies integrate Web browser-based applications and data with new and existing applications.

The company specializes in tools that use XML (eXtensible Markup Language) to allow application developers to extract information from Web sites and the data housed within them. The most popular Web language, HTML, is designed to present data, not exchange it with other software and business applications, the company points out, making it difficult to automatically exchange data between Web sites and business applications.

Using XML, webMethods has designed a language called WIDL (Web interface definition language) that describes not only what data on Web pages is, but also how to access and share it. The company has submitted WIDL to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) as a proposed Internet standard. The W3C in December issued a recommendation that XML become a standard. (See related story)

WebMethods' newest product, the Web Automation Server, uses WIDL to make Web site data sharable, through automated methods, with a company's other business applications. Most of that work until now required human intervention to make the translation from HTML to an exportable form of the information.

WebMethods said the server allows companies to combine data from Web and other applications for building e-commerce and other systems.

Web Automation Server, which ships next month, is priced from $19,995 for 50 concurrent users to $49,995 for unlimited users.