In-Depth

Evolving Technology

Loren Abudulezer is president of Evolving Technology in New York City. Specializing in serving pharmaceutical and financial services clients, this consultancy has been at work on database and Intranet applications throughout the brief history of the Internet. The company’s work in Internet technology, said Abudulezer, arose naturally out of its work with three-tiered client/server applications and IBM’s VisualAge for SmallTalk. "In the first couple of years doing Internet development, we primarily wanted to maintain static applications and have access to back-end applications," said Abudulezer. Work that began with VisualAge for Smalltalk has continued with other VisualAge tool family members.

Evolving Technology’s Internet applications work for pharmaceutical companies, which, Abudulezer said, are often Oracle houses. The consultancy often links the Web server to the database using JDBC or JDBC with ODBC. Said Abudulezer on the benefits of Java: "If I design applications properly, there’s very little re-writing [in a port], just some changes in mapping and locations. But my SQL queries are still my SQL queries."

We asked Abudulezer about performance and compatibility. Isn’t Java still in knee pants? "Yes, there are real-world issues you have to deal with, some are the result of Java, some are part of VisualAge itself," responded Abudulezer. "But there are realistic work-arounds.

"In terms of Java, the virtual machine issue is a very real issue," he said, though he noted that JDK 1.1 and recent (December 1997) browser add-ons supply most of "the missing pieces" for solving some of these problems.

As for VisualAge: "It is an extremely powerful, industrial-strength product. But there is overhead associated with that. At first, there is a fair amount to apprehend. You don’t design applications casually. But the pay-off is worth it."

There is little doubt, admitted Abudulezer, that, with the advent of Java, Smalltalk took a hit. "Java is considerably more mainstream," he commented, "But, really, Java validated the approach that Smalltalk had been introducing all along." Moreover, the transition of Smalltalk developers to Java is easy, according to Abudulezer.

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