EDITORIAL: Born-again technologies

We didn't plan it this way, but this month's issue is mainly about technologies making a fresh start. After a period of opposition or benign neglect, instant messaging is gaining acceptance in enterprises; agile programming is winning new adherents--following years when enterprises focused on control-intensive initiatives; and visual modeling is getting a second look because the newest tools deliver benefits unmatched by earlier tools, such as automatically producing much of the code for an app.

Instant messaging still gives most IT folks heartburn, but at least there are more ways to do something about it. If left unmanaged, IM blows a gaping hole in corporate firewalls allowing for malware, pirated music and other stuff no enterprise wants to enter--and confidential information to exit. It's also a distraction and sucks an employee's time away from more important tasks--like taking care of business.

Regular contributor Alan Earls writes, the good news is IT has increasing number of options to tailor enterprise-class IM to any budget or level of sophistication. Take a read through Earls' cover story, then let us know how you're dealing with EIM.

Stephen Swoyer, another regular contributor, continues to impress us with his ability to plunge deeply into a story. Read "Agile Breaks on Through to the Other Side" and you'll see why that is. In recent years, enterprises have increasingly focused on control-intensive initiatives including regulatory compliance, or process-centric efforts such as ISO or the Capability Maturity Model Index, according to Swoyer. In this risk-adverse corporate climate, Swoyer writes, agile methods, and XP in particular, can be a tough sell, but they don't have to be. Fact is, there's a growing body of agile-in-the-enterprise success stories, especially in large, multi-national companies with traditions of innovation.

Visual modeling is getting a second look from the development community, notes new contributor Robert Scheier in "Visual Modeling's New Look" There's a good reason, Scheier found out: Newer modeling tools can span multiple computing platforms because they're based on Web services, which allow developers to create application services, such as file, print, or database access. Major advances in compiler technology have also made it easier for modeling tools to generate high-quality code, adds OMG Chairman and CEO Richard Soley.

About the Author

Michael Alexander is editor-in-chief of Application Development Trends.