Bringing components closer to the enterprise

Component development has been touted for years by myriad experts in the business as the solution to almost every problem I/S faces today. Development would be cheaper, easier and faster. Backlogs would disappear.

I/S organizations and software suppliers could implement reusable components in multiple, large distributed applications.

Developers of lower end applications have long utilized fine-grained components via ActiveX controls or, later, JavaBeans. But most corporate developers are still waiting for the right tools before embarking on a component development process.

As Staff Writer Jason Meserve points out in this month's cover story -- "Java Component Dream Gains Steam," page 29 -- the unveiling of the Enterprise JavaBeans 1.0 specification, also known as EJB, brings the potential of component development a step closer to large I/S organizations. However, a few more steps still need to be taken.

The EJB model is backed by several top suppliers, including IBM, Oracle Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc., Inprise Corp. (formerly Borland), Netscape Communications Corp. and Sybase Inc. Meserve also points out that some of the traditional leading-edge I/S organizations have started building EJB components. On the other hand, remember that this is only Version 1.0 of the specification and it is missing several key elements. EJB also lacks the support of Microsoft Corp., and is unlikely to obtain it any time soon. So despite the hype, EJB is not a panacea, but another step in the right direction for corporate developers.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is readying COM+, a combination of COM and Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS), that it promises will help corporate developers build enterprise applications. Contributing Editor Deborah Melewski examines the status of Microsoft's component development efforts, and what this work means for I/S, in our Special Report on Microsoft development strategies, which begins on page 46.

The Special Report offers an overview of Microsoft development strategies, technologies and products as Windows developers gather this month in New Orleans for the Redmond giant's Tech*Ed 98 Conference. Our report focuses on Microsoft's efforts to convince developers that its platforms can run software for the enterprise. We will also offer regular updates from Tech*Ed on our Web site,

We'll also be keeping an eye on the development strategies of other key suppliers in regular special reports during the coming months.

About the Author

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