Forté Enters Web App Server Market

Development tools vendor Forté Software Inc. became the latest company to push into theWeb application server market today when it unveiled its Forte WebEnterprise Professional Edition.

WebEnterprise, aimed at high-transaction Web applications, is one of a number of recent moves in the market. Both Sun Microsystems and Netscape have bought Web application server companies--NetDynamics and Kiva Software Corp., respectively--in the past year. Analysts say the move toward Web application servers comes as companies realize that the Internet's common medium lets them move beyond connectivity issues. "Companies no longer have to worry about the wire," says Sandra Taylor, an analyst with the Software Productivity Group. "Now they can concentrate on business applications."

Observers say Forté's product addresses a weakness in its Internet offerings. "They were perceived as being late with things like Java support and Net support, and now it looks as if they're full-fledged participants in the Web environment," Taylor says.

Forté's applications development background gives it an advantage over "new kids" such as Kiva and Bluestone Software, according to Taylor. "Over time, they've had a chance to build up a significant inventory of server-side capabilities," she says. "It's a proven infrastructure." Companies building applications with WebEnterprise can tie into that infrastructure.

For instance, the product includes a WebEnterprise Designer design tool and Forté Application Server, the company's existing transaction server. Any application built with the product's WebEnterprise Designer will draw on the Application Server, which offers load-balancing, failover, and application distribution and monitoring--elements necessary for server-based applications.

WebEnterprise Professional Edition includes features such as round-trip wizards that remember previous choices made; a graphical tool that can import database schemas from relational databases and use them as the basis of applications; application partitioning; integration adapters to component protocols such as Microsoft's COM, Corba and Sun's JavaBeans and transaction servers such as BEA's Tuxedo, IBM's Encina, and MQ Series; optimized code generation; and customizable HTML templates.

Forte WebEnterprise Professional Edition, now in beta, will ship in the first quarter of next year, starting at $24,990. It will run on Windows NT and major Unix platforms.

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