Internet Development: Words from the field

Over the last couple of years, we've all been subjected to reams of hype about how the Internet will transform corporate development strategies.But the whole paradigm is still so new to many large I/S organizations that following the lead of others has been difficult if not impossible. Meanwhile, those organizations that did put developers on Internet projects early on were faced with constant changes in vendor strategies, potential standards and tool technologies.

Consequently, we set out in this issue to find out directly from managers and Internet software developers in several I/S organizations just what's going on -- what issues they are facing, whether the Internet's benefits have been as great as the hype suggests and whether the wave of Internet development tools flooding the market are useful in their efforts.

Managing Editor Jack Vaughan, Staff Writer Jason Meserve, Contributing Editor Rich Seeley, along with Sandra Taylor, director of SPG Analyst Services, interviewed dozens of developers and managers in the trenches at many corporations and found projects ranging from staid Harvard University using Java and Corba to re-make mainframe applications for the Internet to hip Sony Corp.'s development of a so-called Web supersite with many features including versions of its classic game shows Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune -- a gigantic effort.

The special report, A Dialog with Users, finds that developers are struggling with several issues, including the shifting from the Internet's thin-client promise to a much heavier Java client, the constant wait for new versions of Sun's Java Development Kit, and the wait for Java browsers to be brought up to date with the server side.

Despite these and other obstacles, corporations have done some amazing projects on the Internet. Not all of them will be successful, but all of the work will add to the learning process. These experiences can be a big help to I/S organizations just starting large Internet development projects.

We will continue to follow the Internet application development efforts of these and other corporations to find out how these obstacles have been overcome, what new obstacles are arising in the ever-changing Internet world and how new technology is fitting in to the process.

Also check out Consultant David Wihl's analysis of Microsoft's component strategy. Wihl looks closely at the emergence of the Active Server Pages as the key piece of Microsoft's plan for delivering components.

Best Regards,

About the Author

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