In-Depth

Home Account Network

Home Account Network’s (HAN’s) experience in Java began in earnest in 1995. "We manned the Sun booth at the first Internet World after Sun announced Java," said Derald McMililan, project manager. Today, HAN provides Java-based financial software solutions.

Being first can usually mean being on the bleeding edge. For example, as McMillian notes, the company had to figure out its own workarounds for printing while Java was young and still brewing. [ The solution? Call back to the Web server, then bring up the required page to print in HTML.]

Now, he noted, JDK 1.1 implements a real (local) solution for printing. HAN used Oakland, Calif.-based Forté Software’s Web SDK to facilitate communications between front-end Java applets and infrastrucutre employing Forté middleware. Sometimes Forte is labeled as a high-end (expensive) solution. Not in McMillian’s estimation. For alternatives such as TP monitors, too many developers were required. Clearly, however, HAN deliberately chose to isolate Java on the front end. And the Forté middleware (with load balancing) was a key requirement for scaling.

As far as the newer "Internet-centric" tools go, HAN was never in the market for them. "We were early to Java and had to make our own tools. We can make a Web server talk to anything. We still haven’t found an adequate Java tool," McMillian remarked.

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