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.NET finally brings Web services to life

For those who forget, the hype surrounding Web services was started by Microsoft during the beginnings of its .NET revolution a few years back. Even today, Microsoft touts .NET as a technology built on Web services, which it describes as small building-block applications that can connect to each other as well as to other, larger applications over the Internet.

Early on, though, confusion surrounding the .NET brand -- at one point most of Microsoft’s products carried the .NET logo in some way -- allowed the Web services-hype leadership chair to be taken over by competitors like IBM, Sun and HP. In the meantime, Microsoft has realigned its .NET product set and now finds a slew of customers using its Visual Studio .NET toolset to build applications and Web services, although some observers question whether the tools are hardy enough to build complex corporate systems.

In this issue, contributor Rich Seeley takes a look at how some IT development managers are utilizing the .NET tools to build corporate Web services (“Heard on the street: Tales of .NET”). The conclusion: Microsoft has considerably simplified the Visual Studio .NET toolset since its initial unveiling, when developers faced significant problems due to what observers said was a lack of compatibility with the older Visual Studio tools.

Seeley found that developers still face some difficulties using the new .NET tools due to less-than-complete security, interface and synchronization features; however, they are nonetheless using the technology to build some relatively simple Web services today, while waiting for a new generation of technology.

This issue of ADT also features an update on the status of the Unified Modeling Language (UML) as Version 2.0 hits the streets (“Is UML heading for fragmentation?”). The standard -- created at the former Rational Software by some of the world’s top methodologists and then turned over to the OMG consortium -- has languished in recent years as development of Version 2.0 lagged and its owner spent time touting the newer Model Driven Architecture (MDA) that’s based on UML.

Author Richard Adhikari found that while UML developers are generally pleased with the upgrade features, many have expressed fear that an inability to enforce compliance with the specs doesn’t bode well for the future of the standard.

In our Cover Story (“BI: Real time or right time?”), consultant Tony Baer examines several questions surrounding efforts to build systems that can do real-time analysis. Some users and analysts say the concept of real-time business intelligence is becoming too subjective to establish a formal definition. Others say users should differentiate between real-time and right-time analysis. Read on and let us know what you think.

Best regards,

Michael W. Bucken

About the Author

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

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