Tibco Inc, the Reuters Holdings Plc software unit which has been peddling the now fashionable publish-and-subscribe technology to Wall Street for ten years, is upgrading its Tibnet Rendezvous messaging toolkit to support applications developed using ActiveX – and integration with Java – plus enhanced message delivery and control features. Although Tibco wants to ride the current wave of interest in so-called push technology, it’s careful to maintain a distinction between itself and the new breed of companies which are popularizing push technology such as PointCast Inc and Marimba Inc, reports our sister publication Online Reporter. Tibnet is a corporate publish-and-subscribe intranet player, and uses multicasting to deliver information such as updated stock prices, to clients. Multicasting is the term used to describe techniques for transmitting a single packet of data over private networks or the Internet to all listeners, as opposed to sending the same message repeatedly. Tibco casts the Marimbas and PointCasts of this world as retail request and reply service providers; they rely on users polling for updated information which is sent via individual messages to each client application, not multicasting. Tib/Rendezvous is the toolkit Tibco sells for developing applications that use its messaging infrastructure. The software currently supports applications written in C, C++ and Java.
Release 3.0 adds support for Microsoft Corp’s ActiveX, enabling for example, a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to update a Java applet running in a browser. Developers can use Visual Basic, Visual C++ or PowerBuilder tools. In addition, a new Java language interface for browser-based applets enables the browser to download Tib/Rendezvous applets from the server which connect back to the Tib/Rendezvous agent process on the Web server host. The agent process represents the applets and acts as their proxy for communication with the internal network. It also adds a layer of security which checks and filters all requests from Java programs, required, says Tibco, because of concern over the security of Java applications. The company has also added new message delivery and control services to Tib/Rendezvous. The system now sends information on each undelivered message; attempts to deliver messages until it works or a time limit expires, and enables applications to determine time limits for each message. There’s also a toolkit for building standby services into applications; in the event a process fails the software kicks a back-up process into life. In addition to Java and ActiveX, Tibco has adapters which allow applications to publish information to a range of clients, including Oracle Corp, Informix Software Inc and Sybase Inc databases; electronic mail, facsimile and pagers; Corba objects, Swift banking, SAP AG and Edifact electronic data interchange applications; and legacy applications. Prices start at $500 per user on personal computers – $1,200 for a development kit. It runs under Unix and Microsoft operating systems. Later this year Tibco will deliver a firewall proxy for use with Tib/Rendezvous, as well as custom versions of the toolkit for Internet service providers and for use by high volume publishing applications. Tibco claims Cisco Systems Inc, Informix, Oracle, DataChannel Inc, Diffusion inc and Quintus Corp are each incorporating Tib/Rendezvous 3.0 into their products. While companies such as the NetShow Co and Precept Software Inc can multicast event-driven messages, Tibco says they don’t offer the kinds of control and management of delivery. And while Starburst Communications Inc offers reliable multicasting, it depends on clients requesting updated information.