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Product Update: Sonic Software ESB 7.0

During our recent review of ESB products, we picked on Sonic Software quite a bit for its design-time environment.
Yesterday, Sonic announced version 7.0 of its ESB offering (with availability May 1) and it appears that it's moving in the right direction.
Gone is Sonic's dual design-time environment. Enter in a new Eclipse-based workbench that seamlessly allows the developer and designer to move between a much improved drag-and-drop modeling environment and a deep visual debugging environment, able to attach to both local and remote brokers. The new modeling environment is very BPMN-like, and lets designers lay out complex orchestrations first and then configure individual steps in much the same manner as competing products.

The new debugging environment will make it easier to perform step-by-step debugging of service orchestrations on deployed orchestrations as well as those still in development. Breakpoints, watches, and all the traditional goodies of a debugging environment are available to the designer.

Also gone is the requirement for the designer to configure and manage local containers for modeling; the new Sonic Workbench 7.0 automatically configures and starts a local modeling environment suitable for designing and testing orchestrations before deployment. This was a big nit for us during testing, and we're glad to see Sonic join the ranks of most enterprise class design environemnts in this regard.

New in 7.0 are what Sonic calls advanced Web Services capabilities, including support for WS-RM (Reliable Messaging), WS-Addressing, and WSP (WS-Policy), and WSS (WS-Security).

Its XPath tool and mapping facilities have been updated as well, and it appears after a quick demo of the new capabilities that this area of the product has clearly been a focus for Sonic in this release. The functionality is much better integrated into the design-time environment and should make transformation of messages even easier for designers. Designers will still need to have a basic understanding of multi-part messages, but the new Workbench makes this much less onerous than in the previous version.

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