today delivered the first pieces of its San Francisco project,
a building-block approach for delivering Java-based business applications
on legacy systems.
At Summer Internet
World, IBM announced that three San
Francisco components--basic services, a common business objects layer, and
the first of many planned business application frameworks--are set to ship
The goal of the project, in the works since 1994, is to license to ISVs
(independent software vendors) with common, Java-based services so they
don't have to keep reinventing the wheel, according to Joe Damassa,
director of marketing for the San Francisco project. Instead, each vendor
can concentrate on differentiating features. "We're not building competing
technology to what they sell. This lets them focus on differentiation
technologies so they don't have create the common business components," he
Damassa likens the San Francisco project to bank ATM networks. Years ago,
each bank would build and maintain its own individual communications
network to supply data to far-flung ATMs. Now, banks leave ATM network
construction and management to Cirrus and other network providers and
concentrate on customer services and new products.
IBM says San Francisco services will include Java versions of common
application components, such as general ledger, accounts payable, customer
definition, and other services. The first service, a general ledger
application, will be delivered in mid-August.
IBM also announced a group of independent software vendors
who have partnered with IBM to support the San Francisco code. Damassa said
AS/400 application specialist Lawson
Software and Synon are on the list,
as are development tool makers Borland
International, and Symantec.
The San Francisco project has the dual role of giving IBM's AS/400 midrange
customers a software migration path from legacy applications to new Java
IBM will ship Windows NT and AIX Unix versions of San Francisco components
next month. An AS/400 Java virtual machine will enter beta testing in the
fourth quarter and will ship next year, according to Damassa.
ISVs will pay IBM a percentage of the revenues of packaged applications
that incorporate the software. The percentage will be "in the single-digit
range," said Damassa.