SilverStream smooths Web site workings
- By Maggie Biggs
- Jun 19, 2000
Agencies that plan to build World Wide Web-based transactional applications
will want to include SilverStream 3.0 as part of the evaluation process.
This application server and development toolkit offers highly visual development
tools, a full Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) implementation, good performance
and competitive pricing when compared with its rivals.
This version's biggest hurdle is just getting through the installation
process. I'd suggest following the installation steps closely to ensure
a successful completion. Once set up, though, SilverStream is a joy to work
with. The company has included several other components with the application
server, such as Sybase Inc.'s Adaptive Server Anywhere (for development
purposes), a search engine, e-mail serving, an object broker and connectors
to back-end resources, such as SAP America Inc.'s enterprise resource planning
SilverStream compares favorably with its competitors, such as BEA System
Inc.'s WebLogic, IBM Corp.'s WebSphere and Lutris Technologies Inc.'s Enhydra.
WebLogic does offer more sophisticated options for load-balancing, while
WebSphere can be implemented on a wider number of platforms (including AS/400).
Enhydra has just become available as a commercial application server (its
roots are in open source), though it is ramping up on J2EE and expanding
its platform reach. SilverStream is well matched against all of those competitors.
I've always liked SilverStream's integrated development tools, and this
release brings even more improvement to the built-in tools. An integrated
debugger has been added, and it is easy to set breakpoints and look at variables
in the interface provided. SilverStream also enables developers to use other
Java tools if they prefer.
By offering support for built-in development tools and linkage to other
Java tools, SilverStream is providing the best of both worlds. Many other
application servers do not provide any development tools but assume that
the developer will use a tool of his or her choosing.
SilverStream is also developer- friendly in other respects. The company
has created a developer version of the product and includes the Sybase desktop-grade
database, SQL Anywhere, so developers can easily test their applications.
In production, SilverStream applications can work with major enterprise
databases, including Oracle.
I found it straightforward to create a test application for accessing
and updating a Lotus Development Corp. Domino back-end resource that I had
available. Creating the client portion of the application was easy, given
the tools provided, and the server-side logic was equally simple to create.
Administrators who need to support the server in an n-tier environment
will also find SilverStream quite friendly. The administration panels are
straightforward, and little training will be needed to understand how to
manage the deployed applications.
The SilverStream application server supports clustering and load-balancing,
and it provides administrators with easy access to setting parameters for
the production environment.
My only real complaints with SilverStream are that there is not a Linux
version and support for Java server pages is not integrated into the built-in
development and debugging tools.
Otherwise, if you are tasked with evaluating application-server technology
for your agency, take SilverStream out for a spin. Its built-in functionality,
integration with other products and resources, ease of use, power and performance
will be a good match for the majority of requirements you might have for
Web-based transaction applications.
Biggs is director of the InfoWorld Test Center. She has more than 15 years
of IT experience and writes the InfoWorld Enterprise Toolbox column.