WebGain gaining ground

The new company continues to build up its Java toolbox via product and company acquisitions

July 12, 2000 -- Through its recent string of product and company acquisitions, WebGain is building up its Java toolbox and moving into the market for platform-independent component-based development.

WebGain this week added another tool to its lineup when it bought Zat, a company based in Portland, Ore. WebGain, based in Santa Clara, Calif., plans to offer Zat's Spin software along with its own Visual Café Java-development tool. Spin is an application-authoring system that Java developers can use to build e-business software by combining existing pieces of code into larger applications, "Our strategy is to acquire best-of-breed companies and products," said Joe Menard, CEO of WebGain. "We're about assembly and rolling best-of-breed technologies together."

The company also announced the shipment of WebGain Studio, a suite of the software products that WebGain acquired from Symantec, Tendril Software, and the Object People, plus Dreamweaver, which it licensed from Macromedia.

Menard says that the company's products will compete with Java-development tools put out by the likes of Sun, IBM, and others.

"There haven't been a lot of big Java IDEs since WebGain bought Visual Café from Symantec," said Tracy Corbo, senior analyst at Hurwitz Group, in Framingham, Mass. In fact, she says, IBM's Visual Age for Java is the only major stand-alone tool of note left on the market.

Corbo also pointed out that WebGain is in a nice position to offer the platform- and language-independent tool set that the Internet will demand. In the future, successful development tools will not be based on proprietary engines, according to Corbo. Instead, the programming model for distributed, scalable Internet applications will require a move away from today's proprietary client/server tools, she said.

"Nobody's made the leap over to Internet development yet, but that's where development tools have to go," Corbo added.

WebGain was launched by Warburg Pincus Ventures and BEA Systems. The company purchased Visual Café from Symantec.

The acquisition of Zat represents WebGain's fourth purchase of either a company or specific product since it was founded in January.

WebGain also bought Tendril Software in order to acquire its Structure Builder software. WebGain and BEA together purchased the Object People; WebGain got the Object People's TopLink software and BEA took the consulting arm.

Market research company GartnerGroup, based in Stamford, Conn., projects that by 2003, 70 percent of new applications will be assembled by using prewritten commercial software components and application frameworks.

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This story, "WebGain gaining ground" was originally published by InfoWorld.