Borland unwraps Kylix 2.0

While Microsoft Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc. each hold developer-related events to tout their Web services strategies this week, Borland on Tuesday will detail its alternative for building Web services on Linux.

In so doing, the company plans to release on Tuesday Kylix 2.0, its rapid application development environment for use with open source software. Last week, research coming from Evans Data Corp., a market research firm based in Santa Cruz, Calif., ranked Kylix as the most commonly used IDE (integrated development environment) by Linux developers.

In a separate study that was released last month, Evans concluded that of more than 300 Linux developers contacted, 70 percent said that Web services are the future of Internet applications, and 42 percent are currently creating Web services-enabled applications.

Kylix 2.0, particularly when used in conjunction with Borland's Delphi 6.0 toolset, constitutes the company's strategy for providing developers with the means to build Web services on Linux and the open source Apache Web server, according to Simon Thornhill, vice president and general manager of Borland's rapid application development group.

In May of this year, Borland shipped Delphi 6.0, which has compiler-level support for SOAP (simple object access protocol) and WSDL (Web services Description Language), thereby enabling programmers to Web-services enable existing applications.

The two together provide the fundamental building blocks for creating Web services on Linux.

Thornhill said that the combination of Kylix and Delphi is not meant to be used in Microsoft .NET's or Sun J2EE's stead but, rather, to build upon the infrastructures that customers already have.

"We're going to provide Web services in a cross-platform fashion so what you produce on .NET you can use on Linux as well," he said. "The hardware doesn't matter, the language doesn't matter. What matters is the standards so that the systems will interoperate."

In specific, those standards are XML and SOAP, which ideally enable companies to swap documents and data between otherwise disparate systems, as well as WSDL for describing Web services and UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration), which serves as the basis for building registries that store Web services so they can be located and accessed.

John Ray Thomas, product manager for Kylix, said that Web services created with Kylix and Delphi can run on top of any application server, Web server or database.

"We're really focusing on interoperability with all the Web services platforms," Thomas said.

Borland is the first company to offer an open-source capability for building Web services.

Bill Claybrook, an analyst at the Aberdeen Group Inc. in Boston, said that most companies considering or already moving toward Web services are more interested in Microsoft's .NET or J2EE than open source.

"Even though it's not the first thought on everybody's mind, eventually they'll use it for Web services," Claybrook said. He likens it to other uses for Linux, saying that although companies don't rush to use open source in lieu of other technologies, over time they see certain advantages and begin to use it.

But Claybrook added that he doesn't expect all open source companies to rush to Web services. "I don't think you'll see the Linux distributors going into the Web services market because its not their business model," he said.

The enterprise version of Kylix costs US$1,999, the Pro version sells for $249, and Borland offers on 'open' edition that is available as a free download.

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Tom Sullivan

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