ANNOUNCE: Free Web Automation Toolkit for XML & HTML

Joe Lapp jlapp at
Wed Mar 4 18:20:05 GMT 1998

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.


Contact:        	Caren DeWitt	Stella Vanderpool
	webMethods, Inc.	Cooper/Iverson Marketing
	703/352-0851	619/292-7400
	caren at       	stella at


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

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

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

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 | jlapp at
webMethods, Inc.             | Voice: 703-267-1726    |   Fax: 703-352-0370

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