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Methods & Tools - News, Facts & Comments Edition - April 2002

*** Products ************************************************************

* Open-source Java

At the last JavaOne conference, Sun's CEO Scott McNealy, announced that its company has teamed with The Apache Software Foundation to refine the procedures for open-source modifications of Java. This will make easier to submit features to the Java Community Process under open licenses.

With this positive move, Sun will increase the diffusion of Java without abandoning its control on the standardisation of the language, a guarantee to avoid incompatible implementations and the loss of multi-platform portability.

*** Companies ***********************************************************

* Compuware Trims its Sails

One of the main producer of mainframe software, Compuware announced at the beginning of the month that it will fire an undisclosed number of employees and close some offices. Its professional services sector will be the more impacted by these moves. Revenues far beyond the expected are the cause of these actions. Other software vendors like SAP, Software AG, Rational, Peoplesoft or Siebel for instance are also facing problems due to reduced sales and difficult outlooks.

This news shows the difficult conditions of the IT market in general and the mainframe sector in particular. If the run to the Internet has given the market some impulsion after the Y2K activity, the current difficult economic conditions have made many companies go back to their classic vision of IT: a cost center.

*** Numbers *************************************************************

* J2EE Application Server Market

IBM and BEA Systems were the clear leaders of the J2EE application server market in 2001. Each company has a 34 percent market share (based on revenues). Sun's iPlanet is third with 7 percent, followed by Oracle (6 percent) and Sybase (4 percent). Overall market revenues amount to $2.19 billion, with a 39 percent growth rate.

The size of the market shows that Java is clearly in my opinion the preferred choice of large companies to develop Web-based applications. After a normal initial phase of market exuberance, the situation is now more traditional and we find the usual big names at the top of the ranking, with the exception of a specialist. Sales power is the name of the game in this market.

Source: Giga Information Group

* IT Power

The Fortune magazine recently published its ranking of the 500 larger US corporations. Here are the rankings, revenues and profits of some of the top companies of the IT sector

Ranking Revenues
9. IBM 85,866 7,723
28. Hewlett-Packard 45,266 408
46. Compaq 33,554 (785)
53. Dell 31,168 1,246
72. Microsoft 25,296 7,346
97. EDS 21,543 1,363
112. Sun 18,250 927
176. Oracle 10,860 2,561
181. Computer Sciences 10,524 233
263. EMC 7,091 (508)
387. Computer Associates 4,198 (591)


Source: Fortune, April 22, 2002

*** In Other's Words ****************************************************

* The Future of Software Development According to Ivar

Last month, I had the chance to attend a presentation of Dr Ivar Jacobson, one of the Three founding Amigos of UML, now VP of Process Strategy at Rational. He sees four major trends in the future of software development.

1 - Components for Reuse. Component factories will provides components on a marketplace, because only a small part of the software used by a company makes a real competitive difference. To increase component adoption, an OMG (Object Management Group) standard has been proposed on how to document and produce reusable assets.

2 - Quality from the Beginning. Today, the main quality effort is performed during the testing phase at the end of a project. The focus on quality should shift to the front part of the software development iterations. Selected quotes: "A use case that is not a good test case is a bad use case", "Whatever you do, you are not done, until you have verified that you did what you wanted to do", "You should clean up after yourself".

3 - Making Software Platform Transparent. The basic intention of the creators of the Rational Unified Process was to create an integrated "book of books" on the various discipline of software engineering. The next step will be to use intelligent agents able to support and assist the developer in the different activities of a project.

4 - UML all the way down. The software developer is on top of many layers of complexity moving at different speeds: analysis methods, development languages, databases, middleware, operating systems, machines. The goal is to use an extended version of the UML to provide a model-driven process for producing executable software, without having to master the low level layers. Thus, application development will move away from a machine-centric view to a more human-centric approach. In this area, Rational is working with its main partners like Microsoft or IBM, knowing that their collaboration is the only chance of success for such an initiative.

According to Dr. Jacobson, the current software developers will change their way of working and turn to assembling software and integrating more engineering into their work. To me this seems a rather optimistic view, but then there are more than 30 years that he is an optimistic software development thinker.

*** Web Siteseeing ******************************************************

Object Management Group (OMG) -

The Object Management Group (OMG) is an open membership, not-for-profit consortium that produces and maintains computer industry specifications. Its most important specification is the multi-platform Model Driven Architecture (MDA), recently underway but already well known in the industry. It is based on the modelling specifications the MOF, the UML, XMI, and CWM. OMG's own middleware platform is CORBA, which includes the Interface Definition Language OMG IDL and the IIOP protocol. All the specifications can be downloaded without charge from the website. Products implementing OMG specifications are available from hundreds of sources.

The "News & Information" section allows to better know the OMG

The "Technology Central" menu list resources by technology: MAD, UML, XML, Corba, Common Warehouse Metamodel (CWM). The downloads line leads to free CORBA Downloads. There you can see CORBA middleware in action in various ways with CORBA freeware, shareware and demos.

The "Documents & Specifications" section allows to search public documents with keywords. You will for instance find the documents on the new UML 2.0 specification.

The "Industry specific markets" section is dedicated to working group on finance, e-commerce and transportation.

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