Whither CORBA?

Tools and technologies built to integrate dissimilar systems and software have littered shelves in IT development organizations for decades. Apollo Computer spearheaded the creation of the multivendor Distributed Computing Environment (DCE) standard that spread false integration hopes throughout the high-tech world. And individual companies (like Oracle and its Oracle Glue toolset and many others) offered integration kits.

The object database revolution of the late 1980s spawned technology that brought another last best hope for multivendor technology integration -- the Common Object Request Broker Architecture, better known as CORBA. CORBA was developed by the Object Management Group (OMG), which was created in 1989 by a dozen or so companies looking to create standards around object and component technologies.

CORBA was later unveiled by a much larger OMG with high hopes, but the technology quickly settled into a high-end niche because of its complexity. The average IT organization had to continue its search for an integration silver bullet that could meet its more common needs.

Now that a new silver bullet has appeared on the scene -- XML and its Web services cousin -- what's to become of CORBA? At first glance, many a technology expert predicted Web services would quickly replace CORBA and expand integration capabilities in companies of all sizes. But now, found contributing writer Richard Adhikari, while many observers still predict the imminent end of CORBA, key technology providers like Microsoft, the OMG itself and a growing group of experts say Web services can complement CORBA technologies.

In his story, (''Can CORBA and Web services live together?'' ), Adhikari looks at both sides of the issue. He finds that those corporations with significant CORBA investments cannot be expected to quickly replace that technology with Web services. At the same time, engineers say there are still gaps in Web services that have long been filled by CORBA.

Speaking of standards, Editor-at-Large Jack Vaughan takes a look at the status of Version 2.0 of the Unified Modeling Language (UML) that's still under development in labs of the OMG and its membership (''Are you ready for some UML 2.0? ''). Vaughan talks to several UML developers and experts and comes up with an early snapshot of what users can expect from the long-awaited UML follow-on.

And finally, in our cover story this month, Max Dolgicer, Gerhard Bayer and Michael Bardash (''The right Java tool for the right job '') expand on their earlier look at how and when corporate developers can best use Java servlets and Enterprise JavaBeans to build e-business applications of all sizes. The International Systems Group consultants also provide an easy-to-read chart that compares and contrasts the Java technologies.

About the Author

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


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