No easy way out
Corporate developers can no longer build applications and just throw them over to their I/S brethren to install and manage for users. The computing world has become far too complex for that. Corporations are run
on several platforms, and top management is ordering I/S to quickly extend applications to the Internet. Managing applications in this world, without some kind of plan conceived prior to the start of development, is near impossible. Creating new or updating existing applications with links to installed management systems is an enormous issue that must be resolved by internal I/S organizations.
As noted in the cover story, "Taking an application-side view", a Gartner Group survey found managing applications has become the top technical concern of corporate chief information officers (CIOs). Author Elizabeth U. Harding, ADT's West Coast Editor, notes that users and I/S managers are increasingly expecting new software to incorporate "instruments" that warn when an application is reaching its breaking point -- a monumental task in today's cross-platform and Internet world.
I/S managers can expect their suppliers to help out some with the task, but the bulk of the work will have to be done by internal development teams. Harding talks to several I/S managers and software suppliers to find out some of the options available to I/S organizations. The conclusion: There are some answers, but none are easy.
Extending the corporate computing model to the Internet also means that I/S managers must find new testing procedures and tools for their development teams. Testing tool guru Sandra Taylor, director of the Analyst Services unit of Software Productivity Group, looks at how new and existing testing and debugging tools have been adapted for testing in an environment with browser-based clients, new programming languages like Java, the component/object programming paradigm and complex middleware infrastructures such as DCOM and Corba.
Like the applications management issue, testing applications built for new complex computing systems requires cooperation among the various I/S disciplines.
Finally, we at Application Development Trends wish all of you the best of luck in meeting these challenges in the new year. Our 1998 strategy calls for continuing to provide expert information and opinion on trends in development technologies and on possible solutions to the complex problems faced by your I/S organization. If there is an issue you would like us to examine this year, just let us know. That is why we are here.
Mike Bucken is former Editor-in-Chief of Application Development Trends magazine.