Free Web Automation Toolkit for XML & HTML

From Wed Mar  4 12:27:21 1998
Date: Wed, 04 Mar 1998 13:23:19 -0500
From: Joe Lapp <>
Subject: ANNOUNCE: Free Web Automation Toolkit for XML & HTML

webMethods, Inc. today announced that it is now distributing its XML- based Web Automation Toolkit for free. You may download the Web Automation Toolkit from

The Toolkit uses an XML-based technology called WIDL (Web Interface Definition Language) to allow developers to automate access to HTML and XML web pages and to do so without using a web browser. The developer designs interfaces consisting of functions having input and output parameters. The input parameters fill out forms on web pages, and the output parameters contain information extracted from the pages returned upon submitting the form. Applications based on WIDL do not require any understanding of HTTP, HTML, or XML and need not even know that the functions they are using perform their jobs by interacting with the web.

The toolkit is written completely in Java and runs on all platforms that support JDK 1.1. The Toolkit generates code for Java, JavaScript, C, C++, Tcl/Tk, Microsoft Excel, and Visual Basic. The professional edition of the Toolkit has full RSA security built-in.

The Web Automation Toolkit is a mature and fully documented product that webMethods has been shipping to its customers with the Web Automation Server. See the press release below for more information.

[press-release follows]

Caren DeWitt            Stella Vanderpool
webMethods, Inc.        Cooper/Iverson Marketing
703/352-0851	        619/292-7400


XML-RPC Enables Businesses to Connect Applications over the Web, Fosters Growth of XML for Business-to-Business E-Commerce

FAIRFAX, VA, March 4, 1998 - webMethods, Inc. the leading provider of XML-based solutions for business-to-business e-commerce, today announced the free availability of its popular Web Automation Toolkit. The Toolkit is a development environment that enables companies to connect applications to existing Web sites and introduces the ability to use Web protocols to integrate business applications directly over the Web - application to application, Web site to Web site, or Web site to application. Companies can use the open standards of the Web to connect business systems with those of their customers, suppliers and partners.

Although the Web Automation Toolkit uses the eXtensible Markup Language (XML) for data exchange, it works with existing HTML, and does not require corporate developer expertise in XML. The Toolkit includes an HTML/XML parser and a groundbreaking XML RPC that enables any application to exchange data with any other application using just HTTP and XML.

"Much of the initial coverage about XML has focused on publishing and content management. webMethods encourages this, but we also want to foster greater understanding and use of XML particularly for business-to-business e-commerce over the Web. By freely distributing our Toolkit, we enable an even larger group of developers to begin developing XML-based applications now," said Phillip Merrick, President and CEO of webMethods.

Major corporations have already developed applications with webMethods XML-based products. These applications include supply chain integration, automated procurement, and aggregation of business intelligence.

"XML is a powerful enabler for Web commerce. This critical announcement gives companies an XML strategy today for creating portable business-to-business e-commerce applications with easy access to both existing HTML and legacy data. Web Automation Toolkit is definitely a world class e-commerce solution," said Natalie Shaheen, President of Netroscope.

webMethods Offers Only Solution that Works With Existing HTML, and XML

The Web Automation Toolkit 2.1, shipping since December 1997, is an integrated development, testing, and management environment. Using the Toolkit, developers encapsulate Web data and services through a simple and effective graphical interface. Code generators produce "Weblets" in popular programming languages and formats, including C/C++, Java, Javascript, Visual Basic, PowerBuilder, MS Excel, ActiveX and JavaBeans. Weblets are reusable Web access components that can be readily plugged into applications for direct and managed access to Web resources. Other languages and application environments, such as SAP (OTC BB:SAPHY) , Baan (Nasdaq: BAANF) and PeopleSoft (Nasdaq: PSFT), are supported via eXtensible code generation templates.

The Toolkit automatically generates client code, so developers don't need to work at the level of an XML parser. The toolkit offers everything a developer needs to create a working XML application now. It can be downloaded at

The free Toolkit also includes a Personal Server, that supports 2 users, enabling deployment of prototype applications. To deploy to larger numbers of corporate users, webMethods' Web Automation Server is required.

Deploy XML-Based Mission Critical Applications Today with Web Automation Server 1.0

The Web Automation Server, shipping since January 1998, enables corporate deployment of applications developed with the Web Automation Toolkit, and includes advanced features such as SSL and RSA (Nasdaq - SDTI) security in addition to full customer support.

The Web Automation Server bridges communications between the Web and business applications. Through the use of standard Web protocols and APIs, the Web Automation Server automates the exchange of data between local or remote Web sites and corporate applications, eliminating the need for human interaction via a browser interface. Companies can now "publish" a set of Web application services, such as purchasing, shipping, and order tracking that enable them to forge stronger, more efficient, and more profitable alliances with suppliers, customers, and partners.

The Web Automation Server is scalable to hundreds and thousands of corporate users, with high performance and full SSL and RSA security.

The Web Automation Toolkit and Web Automation Server are available for all platforms that support Java, including Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) Windows 95/NT, Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW) Solaris, Linux, Hewlett Packard (NYSE: HWP) HPUX, Digital Equipment Corporation (NYSE: DEC) Unix, IBM (NYSE: IBM) AIX , OS/2, and Macintosh.

webMethods' Web Automation Server is shipping now; pricing starts at $1,295 per concurrent user, minimum orders required with quantity discounts available.

The Web Interface Definition Language - the Power of Web Automation

The core technology behind webMethods' products is the Web Interface Definition Language(WIDL), an application of XML that transforms the Web from an access medium to an integration platform. WIDL provides a means of describing automated access to Web resources through well-defined interfaces. Using WIDL, XML definitions can be created over existing HTML content, enabling applications to interact with both new and existing Web-based resources. In October, 1997, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) acknowledged webMethods' submission of WIDL to the W3C as the first proposed standard for automated access to Web data from within business applications.

webMethods Technology Roadmap

webMethods' goal is to continue to be the market leader and innovator in XML-based products for business-to-business e-commerce over the Web. In Spring 1998, webMethods will announce products that offer direct integration over the Web to back-end customer databases. webMethods' products will support all popular DBMS and access protocols. Its Server products will offer powerful capabilities that support lightweight distributed computing on the Web using just XML and Java as the glue. These XML-enabled application servers will make it possible to connect any existing application directly over the Web using XML as the message format.

About webMethods

webMethods is the first and leading provider of XML-based Web Automation and integration technology. webMethods' suite of Web Automation products uniquely allow corporations to leverage the real value of Web data, by fully integrating it with mainstream business applications. The company is the market leader in XML-based applications for business-to-business ecommerce over the Web. webMethods' award-winning products are in use at leading companies including DHL Airways, Texas Instruments (NYSE:TXN), Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERICY), Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO), Discovery Communications, Inc., Pitney Bowes, Aramco, and the US Postal Service.

As a member of the W3C, webMethods actively supports the development of XML. webMethods' XML-based Web Interface Definition Language was submitted to the W3C in October 1997 as the first proposed standard for automated access to Web data from within business applications. webMethods contributed to early volumes published on XML including, "Presenting XML", by Richard Light, and edited Tim Bray, a co-author of the XML Specification, and "XML, Tools and Techniques", published by O'Reilly's World Wide Web Journal in Oct. 1997.

webMethods is a co-sponsor and a presenter of XML Xposed, a national series of roadshows designed to educate developers and executives about the business benefits of XML, beginning March 18, (, and XML: The Conference, to be held March 23-26 in Seattle, Washington (

Founded in 1996, venture-backed webMethods, Inc. is based in Fairfax, Virginia, with offices in San Mateo, California.

Joe Lapp, Technology Analyst |
webMethods, Inc.             | Voice: 703-267-1726    |   Fax: 703-352-0370

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