A group of veterans of integration technology's pioneering days in the early 1990s, are entering the SOA market this week with the alpha release of ChainBuilder ESB, a graphical open source tool compliant with the new Java Business Integration (JBI) standard.
A new vendor in the SOA technology space, Indianapolis-based Bostech Corp. offers ChainBuilder ESB as tool incorporating best of old integration engine and EAI technology from the past decade with the modern JBI standard-based approach, said David Bourke, the company's president, formerly of HubLink Inc. and Quovadx Inc.
He said he and the other integration veterans at Bostech created ChainBuilder ESB to help developers bring legacy applications into new SOA implementations. ChainBuilder's creators believe "old and new applications should all work together seamlessly" in an "ESB/SOA environment," he said, noting that his team's main experience has been built around integration projects in the health care industry.
"Given our integration background, the developer tool, ChainBuilder ESB, has sophisticated integration capabilities including legacy apps," Bourke said. "What we add to our toolset is some of our war-tested integration components that allow you to pull in non-SOA applications. Then we combine it together with an intuitive integration tool."ChainBuilder ESB components are written in Java and designed with a graphical user interface that can be plugged into the Eclipse development platform, he explained. This week's alpha release of ChainBuilder ESB includes editors for component flow, mapping and custom formatting, as well as EDI editors, he said.
"The other thing that differentiates it is our emphasis on drag and drop graphical integration approach that's intuitive and easy to use," Bourke said. "We've designed it to be a tool that you could use cross-industry. There will clearly be components to meet specific industry standards and plug-in and data transformers that plug into this ESB environment, but the tool itself is cross industry."
Bourke also stressed the importance of having the tool be complaint with JBI, which standardizes a plug-in architecture with interfaces that define how services integrate and interact in a runtime environment.
"The ESB tool is JBI compliant," he explained. "There aren't a lot of tools out there right now on the ESB side that are JBI compliant. Java Business Integration is an open standard so if users decide to use their own components in an SOA environment, if those components comply with that open standard they will all work together."
Since this is an alpha release, Bourke said, the creators of ChainBuilder are encouraging developers to download it and try it out under the open source license. Bostech is using a dual-license distribution model for ChainBuilder ESB. Developers can download the open source software under the common GPL license. The company also offers a paid subscription that provides ChainBuilder ESB training, support and intellectual property indemnification. A commercial license is also available, he said.
The alpha version is available for download now. It is scheduled for general availability January 15, 2007.