Simon Barere

The best-selling API and SOA appliance just got better. Earlier this month, IBM announced at the Impact 2014 conference the latest release of its IBM WebSphere DataPower gateway – release 7. The release contains a number of important new features and enhancements. I wanted to focus on one feature that is perhaps the single most important change to the appliance since IBM acquired DataPower in 2005: GatewayScript.

GatewayScript is based on JavaScript and opens up a new programming model for DataPower developers. Now DataPower developers have both a functional approach to programming DataPower (XSLT) and this new imperative approach (GatewayScript). Most notably, GatewayScript will enable the processing of JSON and binary messages in ways that were awkward and difficult using XSLT. But beyond JSON and XSLT, the imperative approach to programming that GatewayScript offers will make a whole class of problems possible (and easier) to solve on DataPower. This is due to the language’s natural support for state management and precise control over execution order and execution flow. Implementing algorithms, libraries, and complex integration logic can all be made simpler using GatewayScript.

jscodeThis new programming model is so crucial for DataPower as a product because customers are increasingly using DataPower for more and more complex enterprise integration functions. Within SOA Software’s own customer base, we are seeing customers request DataPower API and SOA features that go far beyond security enforcement and XML transformation.  Service level monitoring, System z mainframe integration, micro-orchestration, and data aggregation are just a sampling of what the DataPower appliance is being asked to do in today’s workloads. APIs are further putting pressure on DataPower to do more with less due to their demands to expose more and more backend enterprise data to wider and wider communities of users using simpler technologies adapted to the needs of cloud and mobile. Welcome to the convergence of API and SOA.

Bravo to IBM for knocking this one out of the ballpark. And of course delivering it with the usual focus on code level security, wire speed execution, and access to the DataPower feature set. Even the choice of JavaScript was a coup. Originally developed for the Netscape browser in a client role, JavaScript moved to the server, most famously with node.js, only to find itself at all tiers now with DataPower adding it to the middle. JavaScript’s syntactic similarity to Java (IBM, Oracle, SAP) and C# (Microsoft), and status as the fourth most popular programming language means finding and training developer talent will be a breeze for DataPower customers.

SOA Software is planning to score a coup as well. Look for SOA Software’s unified API and SOA management solution for DataPower to fully leverage GatewayScript, both to solve core features on DataPower, and to offer customers a fully managed and automated approach to deploying GatewayScript-enabled APIs onto DataPower. The DataPower line of gateways are now more than ever prepared to solve your toughest API, SOA, and enterprise integration challenges.

We hope you are planning to score a coup as well. Let us know how you plan to use GatewayScript to bring a whole new class of problem solving to DataPower. Because in the new world of DataPower 7, XSLT has a new best friend.

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