Reason for optimism
Is component development real, or is it just another silver bullet that will prove impossible to implement?
We've been hearing -- and writing -- about the concept for years, but now there is reason for optimism. Some of the largest I/S suppliers in the world -- IBM, Sun Microsystems Inc., Microsoft Corp. -- have mapped out some ambitious plans for delivering tools to make reusable components that perform specific functions and can be linked with other components to create complex applications.
Some important pieces to the component development puzzle are still missing, but IBM, Sun and Microsoft are investing significant monies to fill the holes. We think the plans of these suppliers are important and deserve examination.
Last month, we looked at the Microsoft plan for extending a component strategy based on its ActiveX and DCOM environment.
This month, Sally Cusack, an analyst with the Analyst Services division of Software Productivity Group, Natick, Mass., examines the component development strategies of Sun and IBM, which are based on the Sun JavaBeans model (page 22).
Cusack found that corporate I/S organizations are proceeding cautiously into the component world, smartly letting the top suppliers develop strong technology first. This is a good strategy as pieces of the puzzle are still missing. Once (or if) everything works according to plan, I/S managers can pick the best tools and technologies from the various component development schemes.
Meanwhile, middleware expert Max Dolgicer finishes his two-part series on Common Object Request Broker Architecture (Corba) services by describing the Security and Trader Services. Dolgicer explains what software suppliers have to do to support these services, which he notes are one of the least understood areas in distributed computing today.
We've also put together another special report on Internet Application Development to help you try to keep up with the rapid pace of change in Internet development.
In this installment: Managing Editor Jack Vaughan updates the astounding industry surge toward Java tools support; Staff Writer Jason Meserve explains the merging of Internet and collaborative software technologies; and veteran freelance writer Colleen Frye examines how users can take advantage of the huge potential of Internet-based electronic software distribution.
Mike Bucken is former Editor-in-Chief of Application Development Trends magazine.