Special Report: A Dialog with Users

Internet development is a new animal and it isn't. In some ways it is a mere logical step up from client/server computing. But it has changed the way developers work, if only in the sense that they are constantly interrupted with phone-borne sales pitches for Internet software tools. (Note that World Wide Web creator Tim Berners-Lee invented the Web so he could spend less time answering technical questions on the phone!) The sales pitch touts Web updates, if the vendor calling is already established. The call touts Web re-makes, if the vendor is a start-up.

For this Special Report on Internet Applications Development, ADT went into the eye of the hurricane - where the development managers and teams. We asked a simple set of questions. How do they value the tools? What are Internet's benefits? What were major obstacles encountered? What we found, in general terms, is that Internet and Java and the Web represent a significant new delivery medium; that Internet expands the breadth of the application -- and the enterprise -- sometimes overnight; that it is a means for enlivening mainframe legacy data; and that it can quickly turn the freshest client/server system into an instant legacy burden.

There is a lot of hype and hope surrounding the future of the Internet. Hardware and Software vendors are turning their attention and shifting strategies, while products are being released at a dizzying pace. So Application Development Trends is stepping back from the vendor- and press-induced hype and presenting a show case of tried and true applications developed for or using Internet-related technology. For this, we delved into the trenches of development and looked at systems ranging from music delivery to interactive marketing Web sites to an Internet-based order entry/tracking system.

There was much to learn as we surveyed users of the new technology. That updated versions of the Java Developer's Kit (JDK) couldn't come too soon for the developers. That keeping Java browsers up to date with the server side is almost a hopeless chore. And that, despite drawbacks, enthusiasm for this technology is growing. That developers have always needed to manage uncertainty, and that many of them welcome the particular uncertainty that is nestled within the Internet onslaught. -- By Jason Meserve and Jack Vaughan (with reporting by Rich Seeley and Sandra Taylor)

Evolving Technologies
Gulf Canada Resources
State of Texas -- Comptroller of Public Accounts
State of Texas -- Workforce Information System
Trade Compass
Trader Online!
MCI/SHL Systemhouse
Snap-on Inc.
The Discovery Channel
Ontario College Application Services
Nevo Technologies
Buzzeo Inc.
Rand Merchant Bank
Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.
WebLogic Corp.
State of Missouri -- Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Ed.
Gannet Media Technologies
Home Account Network

About the Authors

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

Sandra Taylor is director of SPG Analyst Services, Natick, Mass.