Tibco Software: Clean Up With AjaxBy Brian P. Watson | Posted 2007-02-02 Email Print
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An Ajax pioneer helps the business integration firm expand its strategy.
Former General Interface users applaud the combined company for customer service and how its products help speed up application development.
Paul Rudman, an analyst/developer with the Shell Group, came across Tibco's General Interface when the oil conglomerate began putting its legacy software systems on a common platform.
Within a week of using the product, Rudman's team built a front-end interface for a system that connects energy trading platforms so traders can clear contracts. He says it was four times faster than any other framework he's tried.
He also points to General Interface's built-in ability to read and connect to Web servicesinteroperable software systems extended over a networkwithout requiring extra code. Picking the tool, he says, "was purely a case of [Tibco] displaying the technology we needed." Rudman adds that he plans to use General Interface to build new front ends for all of Shell's legacy applications.
E.&J. Gallo Winery first bought General Interface in 2004, looking to create richer Web applications for consumers and partners. Senior systems engineer Balaji Balasubramaniam and his team built a number of applications with the tool, including an auditing system for Gallo's marketers and distributors.
Balasubramaniam applauds Tibco's customer support. He turns to Tibco's online forums, where developers and users share tips and answer questions, whenever he runs into problems with General Interface. The longest he's ever waited for a solution is a full workday, he says.
"The service on General Interface is wonderful," Balasubramaniam says.
Kevin Hakman, a General Interface co-founder and now a Tibco product marketing director, says customer satisfaction was always a driving force behind the product. And it appears to have paid off all around: According to Hakman, it was early General Interface customers who rallied Tibco to acquire the firm.
He says those customers liked the technology but wanted more support than GI's six-person staff could deliver. Hakman says Tibco was attractive because of its emphasis on business integration and service-oriented architecture, the concept of tying applications together across systems.
Still, Ahmad Fahmy, a London-based senior technical analyst with Merrill Lynch, had one gripe. He says General Interface uses Common Data Format, a method of storing and accessing data sets, which slows down with large applications. Fahmy and his team ended up having to write separate code to transform the data format of a Web service into the common format so they could interoperate.
Hakman admits that using Common Data Format as a data model can cause those types of problems, but adds that General Interface has built-in tools that can transform data into other formats.