IBM Extends Power of Enterprise Computing to the PC With New Software Tool

Application Development Productivity Tool Simplifies Desktop Access to IBM Application Servers

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DALLAS, IBM CICS/MQSeries Technical Conference - 26 Apr 1999: . . . IBM today announced a new application development productivity tool that makes it easy for programmers to connect desktop application environments with back-end systems, extending the scalability and reliability of enterprise computing environments to the PC.

IBM VisualAge Interspace*, the latest addition to IBM's VisualAge software family, was previously marketed as Interspace software by Planetworks L.L.C., recently acquired by IBM. The new tool will enable programmers who use workgroup rapid application development (RAD) tools such as Sybase PowerBuilder** and Microsoft Visual Basic** to easily develop applications that utilize IBM's enterprise server environments, including IBM CICS Transaction Server (TS) for OS/390, IBM MQSeries and IBM WebSphere Application Server, as well as to IBM VisualAge Generator server applications.

VisualAge Interspace also provides a set of Java development utilities that integrate with VisualAge for Java, making the development of new applications for environments such as CICS TS even easier to develop and test.

"The use of enterprise-scale application environments such as CICS TS continues to be critical for customers, especially as they move to e-business," said Joe Damassa, vice president of marketing, IBM Application Development Software. "IBM's focus is to provide the most productive and effective development support for these enterprise e-business environments, and to ensure that our tools accommodate our customers' diverse set of development skills. With the inclusion of VisualAge Interspace within the VisualAge application development family, IBM is providing customers with one-stop shopping for development tools that bridge workgroup and enterprise application development."

IBM and Planetworks have had a successful marketing partnership for several years. The companies jointly developed and launched the IBM Application Mining program, which gives a modern simplified user interface to any existing application so that they can be accessed from PCs and the Internet by customers to open up new e-business opportunities. The relationship was extended across multiple IBM product lines, including the full range of application servers supported today. The acquisition provides IBM additional flexibility in delivering best-of-breed development tools to customers building e-business applications.

"IBM's purchase of Planetworks and their Interspace product is a significant strategic move that enables Visual Basic and PowerBuilder programmers to use their current skill sets and familiar programming environments to access IBM's middleware infrastructure and legacy environments," said Beth Gold-Bernstein, senior analyst, Hurwitz Group.

"Our company was faced with the requirement of accessing legacy data on our CICS/MVS systems from our PowerBuilder applications. We decided to implement a three-tier architecture solution which uses Interspace together with CICS Client for Windows, CICS/6000 and CICS/ESA to handle communications between the PC, RS/6000 and IBM S/390," Jeff Harasym, systems engineer, MTS Communications Inc. "Interspace performed its function perfectly. Our developers became productive in a very short time since Interspace's learning curve was minimal. We are currently planning on using Interspace to interface with other legacy applications via MQSeries. Based on our past experience, we're confident that Interspace will perform equally as well."

Pricing and Availability

VisualAge Interspace will be available for sale on April 28 through IBM sales and System Integrators. The product will be priced at $2495 per developer seat and $3495 per processor for runtime. IBM global technical support will also be extended to existing Planetworks customers worldwide.

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