Think positively about limitations

Sometimes, limitations can be opportunities to make things better. In this issue, we focus on overcoming limitations in application security, enterprise application integration and other key areas that deliver in a big way when they’re made right.

Most enterprises have figured out that firewalls, antivirus software and intrusion detection systems no longer provide adequate protection, writes contributing editor John Waters in this month’s cover story about application security. What’s needed is for enterprise developers to pay as close attention to security as the operations people, says one expert Waters interviewed. One conclusion is that developers should look at weak app security as just another type of software defect that should be eliminated as early as possible in the development lifecycle.

Application integration evolved steadily over the years, but never seemed to reach its final destination. Much of the work used to require writing code that would enable one app to tap the processing of another and to share information between the two. As Alan Radding writes in a feature this month, enterprises that are looking to integrate systems now have several options to choose from, including Web services and service-oriented architectures. Finally, Radding says, it looks like EAI is approaching the ideal.

Crystal Reports has dominated the market for developer-oriented reporting tools for as long as anyone can remember, but that may be about to change, notes frequent contributor Stephen Swoyer. Crystal faces competition from Microsoft’s successful SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services offering and the Eclipse Foundation’s Business Intelligence Reporting Tool, which was released this month. Some codejockeys Swoyer talked to complain that because of the high cost for more capable versions of Crystal, they’re forced to make do with plain-vanilla Crystal Reports—and its limitations.

Finally, Linda Briggs reports on the growing interest in search engines aimed at the enterprise. Thanks to Google, enterprise users expect the same search experience within their organizations that they get on the wide-open Internet—quick results and lots of relevant hits, Briggs writes. However, enterprise search is far more complex. It’s more often not just about finding information, but mining it, reusing it, and creating new ways of analyzing the results.

About the Author

Michael Alexander is editor-in-chief of Application Development Trends.