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Tuxedo dresses down for Web

An electronic transactions system for Tuxedo middleware is planned for businesses to move to the Net.

Bea Systems plans next week to announce a Web-based system for processing electronic transactions that will help users move their businesses onto the Internet.

Bea will announce Jolt, a Web front end to its Tuxedo transaction processing middleware. Tuxedo is widely used by large companies to process airline reservations, credit card transactions, and other order-entry applications, applications that are commonly referred to as "mission-critical" because if they stop working, the business stops functioning. Bea's Tuxedo systems runs on large Unix-based hardware and can link to mainframe systems.

Jolt will allow businesses to extend these kinds of mission-critical systems to the Web. The software allows transactions to be initiated through Web browsers, for example, by a customer on a home or office PC, and be processed securely on back-end systems. The software will also work with existing Windows, DOS, OS/2, and Unix clients.

Systems like Jolt and upcoming Web-based transaction tools from Microsoft, Oracle, Informix Software, Sybase, and IBM are the missing links in assembling electronic commerce Web applications tied to the existing client-server and host applications that run most businesses.

Simple browser front ends can't detect the state of a transaction so that if an error occurs, such as a database malfunction or a broken or scrambled transmission, transaction can literally be lost in cyberspace. A customer might not realize that the computer he thinks he ordered was not actually ordered or that the order he thinks he canceled was not actually canceled. Also, browser front ends can't guarantee database locking, which ensures that each transaction is processed before a new one begins so that data isn't scrambled or overwritten.

But Jolt and similar systems are promised to provide security and state management comparable to what transaction processing monitors like Tuxedo do for client-server systems, so that transactions like secure reservation, order entry, and accounting systems can be moved onto the Web.

BEA will announce pricing for Jolt next week.

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