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Sybase buys a seat on Web services train

The database software maker has overhauled its entire line of e-business software and tools to support Web services. It's just the latest company to join up.

Sybase has joined its competitors in planting a stake in the Web services market.

The database software maker said Wednesday that it has overhauled its entire line of e-business software and tools to support Web services, a method for building software that lets companies with different computing systems interact and conduct transactions.

Sybase is the latest software maker to push Web services, joining Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, IBM, Oracle and others in the emerging market.

In the next few years, analysts expect Web services to gain popularity as a more efficient way of building software. Many software companies are now racing to provide businesses the tools they need to build Web services. Yet Sybase is circumspect about the promise of the nascent technology.

"It's not a cure-all for all integration problems," said Sybase Chief Technology Officer Peter Hoversten. "But Web services will be a valuable form of computing with widespread adoption."

Sybase has introduced a Web services toolkit that will allow software programmers to build, test and run Web services. The toolkit will also make available services on online directories that support a Web services specification called UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration). The toolkit works in conjunction with Sybase's PowerDesigner 9.0 software development tool, which supports all the Web services specifications.

The company has also added support for Web services in a number of its software products, including its Java application server software that runs e-business and other Web site transactions; its integration server software that allows different business software to communicate; its database software that manages vast amounts of data; and portal server software that allows companies to build portal sites for employees and customers.

Sybase's strategy includes Web services support in its iAnywhere Solutions wireless software products, which allow Internet-ready devices such as cell phones to access Web services; and technology called BizTracker for monitoring and managing Web services to ensure they're working properly.

Sybase executives said the new products are either shipping or will be available soon.