Westbridge releases XML server

Capitalizing on the growing interest in Extensible Markup Language (XML) Web services technologies, Westbridge Technology Inc. has released an upgraded middleware product that allows managers to easily define views so that users of systems that are linked through XML interfaces have access only to information entitled to them.

Westbridge, based in Mountain View, Calif., targets an emerging market called Web services management, said president and founder Kerry Champion. Web services refers to the use of XML and other protocols to allow systems to share data. Westbridge's XML Message Server provides controls to protect sensitive information.

To sell products to federal agencies, the company is launching an initiative that includes a new Washington, D.C. office and partnerships with several systems integrators.

The product will draw data as needed from other systems, while blocking access to information that a user is not allowed to see, even though the other systems might use different authentication methods or data transport technologies, Champion said.

"You've got different Web services. You've got different consumers. The way our middleware bridges it is by defining service views," he said. "You leave your Web services the way they are."

Version 3.0 of the product, released today, also includes a "smart parser" to interpret XML code more efficiently.

Although Westbridge has competitors, the need for greater control over Web services is apt to create a large market, Champion said. "What we've seen in the past with Web services has been server-to-server connections," he said. "What we see people preparing for and moving toward is adding desktop to server connections."

Champion is seeing federal agencies as more of a market than he once did, he said. When he founded the company just two years ago, he saw the government as just one potential customer out of many, he said.

"Now they're one of the top two," markets, he said. "Who has bigger software integration issues than the federal government?"

The company found its motivation to move more strongly into the federal realm after some early positive experiences, he said. "We had some users in the federal space who just had a really pressing need, and who were in some ways more advanced than customers in the commercial space," he said. "When you see that it motivates you to overcome the barriers."

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