A Test For E-businesses

The raging Wall Street party for Internet stocks has clearly come to an abrupt halt. Consumer and business-to-business e-companies are now judged by the same criteria as their brick-and-mortar brethren. Profits are paramount. Products must work. Hype and promises without results are given the cold shoulder.

Just a year ago, with the Christmas holidays approaching, e-businesses were riding the crest of a year-plus wave of popularity among stock traders and a high-tech glitterati that cared more about the dawn of a new business paradigm than about profits or products that actually worked. Today, e-business systems have to work before the e-store opens. Consumer and business users must get the product or service they ordered or be told the reason why.

The pressure on IT developers to build complex e-business systems that work the first time are enormous. Any downtime lets customers move on to a competitor's site with the click of a mouse. But the pressure to get a system up and running quickly increases the odds that it won't work. Organizations are finding that developers can no longer pay lip service to the testing phase of a project while adding more bells and whistles to the system. The result is that more and more IT developers are turning to testing tools and processes.

In this month's Cover Story ("A test a day keeps the bugs away,"), freelance writer Lana Gates explains how some inventive IT organizations have used testing tools to build successful e-business systems. Development managers at these operations point out that testing is still a protracted and grueling process for developers. But while it is not the part of the process most enjoyed by developers, corporations that do not take software quality seriously won't survive the e-business revolution.

"Applications and software used to support business," Dick Heiman, research director for application development and deployment at IDC told Gates. "Now it is the business."  Enough said.

This issue also examines how some IT organizations are turning to Java to cross into the new frontier of wireless technologies. Freelance writer and regular ADT contributor Colleen Frye looks at the emerging Java 2 Micro Edition platform from Sun and how it will affect the work of corporate developers.

Clearly, corporations are looking at wireless technologies as the next step on the e-business ladder. IT development managers are being pressured to build applications that take advantage of emerging wireless platforms and give their firms a quick competitive advantage. Frye points out that Java is just one option for these developers as the standards issue remains in a state of flux.

About the Author

Mike Bucken is former Editor-in-Chief of Application Development Trends magazine.