TCP/IP tool eases connectivity programming

By Tom Yager, InfoWorld |  Software

In addition, the ASP edition will e-mail a file in a single step and will automatically process HTTP file uploads. In just a few minutes, we created an ASP script object that validates a remote client's e-mail address and sends the client a custom-generated ttext message with an attached file, which would ordinarily require several days of coding.

Managers love it

IP*Works packs a great deal of functionality into each edition. There are 22 objects in most editions. Most objects encapsulate high-level network protocols such as SMTP, FTP, and POP (Post Office Protocol), whereas others such as MIME handle the packaging of data for network delivery. The protocol coverage is not universal but is limited to file and message delivery and network directory lookups. Developers still need object brokers, transaction managers, message queuing, and other enterprise application functionality.

IP*Works includes four general-purpose TCP/IP objects -- IPPort, UDPPort, ICMPPort, and MCast -- that help simplify all kinds of network projects. These objects alone don't justify the cost of the software, however. You should consider purchasing IP*Works only if you need one or more of the high-level protocols it supports.

This latest release adds several new protocols: LDAP, IMAP, SNMP, MIME, MX (Mail Exchange), and SNPP (Simple Network Paging Protocol). The company also added SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)-enabled (encrypted) variants of most editions. The SSL versions load and verify a public key certificate and then use that certificate to encrypt network traffic.

Licensing is simplified by /n software's royalty-free license. Only the ASP edition requires a paid license on deployment, and then the cost is a flat fee per server CPU. The benefits for commercial development are obvious, but this licensing model also reduces the cost of internal deployment. There are no per-seat or per-connection licenses to buy or manage, so there is no need to police users' access to internally developed network applications.

Finally, /n software runs lengthy public trials of upcoming releases, a policy that's no doubt largely responsible for the performance and stability of the objects we tested. Any edition of IP*Works can be downloaded free for a trial period, and the software can also be purchased electronically.

IP*Works Version 4 is a network object library that runs everywhere, does all of the things we'd like it to, is easy for all developers to learn, and is well supported by the vendor. For these reasons, we give IP*Works our highest rating and recommend it for all Windows network development projects.

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