Business software rivals have started attacking one another's records on standards as they all release new SOA (service oriented architecture) platforms.

Tibco has claimed its new ActiveMatrix software was "the first truly neutral, independent environment" for creating, deploying and governing SOA systems. "In contrast to the many other offerings on the market, ActiveMatrix specifically targets the creation, deployment and governance of services in a distributed and technology neutral fashion," declared Stefan Farestam, the company's European marketing director.

Farestam added that it provides service containers for multiple technologies - initially these are J2EE, .Net and Java, with C++, Perl, Ruby and Cobol to come.

However, SOA specialist Iona Technology - which earlier this week announced its own SOA enterprise service bus (ESB) and SOA framework, called Celtix Enterprise - claimed that the Tibco technology was neither truly independent nor technically neutral.

"They are not the only one with an independent SOA framework," said Larry Alston, Iona's product management VP. "Tibco say they have an independent platform, but can they run their framework without their messaging system?" He added, "It's going to be a mixed world. The real thing people need to look for is for a framework to be independent of the transport, of software platforms such as J2EE or .Net, and of the hardware.

"The larger vendors, such as IBM and Tibco, are traditionally J2EE-centric - that's the wrong way to go," he continued. "Then there are lightweight solutions, and the problem there is it's all Java." Alston said that, as well as seeking software-independence, anyone choosing an SOA framework also needs to ask if they can adopt technology dynamically - plugging in or upgrading components on the fly.

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Tibco's Farestam insisted though that ActiveMatrix is indeed technology-neutral. "The underlying transport mechanism is pluggable and is decoupled from the services so they are not aware if JMS or HTTP is used, which are two of the supported transports," he said.

IBM also updated its SOA technology this week, introducing version 7 of its Rational software delivery platform. Among other things, it said that Rational 7 would enable developers to create C/C++, Java, J2SE and CORBA-based applications, and test SOA, Java and J2EE apps destined for deployment via IBM's WebSphere application server.