If we dont make substantial gains in our practices of preserving, finding, and reusing code, we wont keep pace with the opportunities presented by continuing hardware improvement. More devices to do things, and more kinds of connection to share things, will be unfinished stories of what-might-have-been if they require vast new coding efforts—testing, deploying, and maintaining it as well as writing it—to make them useful.
Thats why I take great interest in the work being done by LogicLibrary Inc., of Pittsburgh—a finalist at this years presentation of eWEEKs Excellence Awards, now making news with its forthcoming version 3.5 of its flagship product Logidex. More than a metadata repository, version 3.5 makes substantial moves toward actively managing code assets: It offers an enterprise development team a broad set of SOAP-based Web services APIs that let developers both look for what they need, and keep track of how their work is being used.
LogicLibrary had already devised SOAP APIs for internal use, to provide convenient integration of Logidex repository functions with integrated development environments. "Weve expanded those APIs for automation purposes to include administration of the library," explained Logidex technology vice president and co-founder Brent Carlson when we spoke on the eve of the version 3.5 announcements; "We can have events based on essentially any function or behavior."
With these interactive capabilities, Carlson believes that Logidex can make the leap from storage of code to dynamic adaptation of applications in service-based architectures. "Were seeing customers looking to UDDI [Universal Description, Discovery and Integration] for operational management," said Carlson; "Rather than hard-coding URLs into code, we can have a deployed set of services and let the UDDI registry help me pick out the right one," he added.
I asked Carlson how far this might go—if an application could be generated, in effect, by a properly formed query into the repository, with task-specific user interface or business logic being added with a fraction of the effort that goes into writing applications today. "I dont know that anyones taken application generation as far as youve described," he said, "but we certainly have some customers doing deep build integration: Logidex is managing builds, and queries against Logidex are doing that."
Others are pushing hard in the direction of generating applications from their descriptions, rather than demanding that developers provide low-level details. Jeff Walker, founder, chairman and chief technology officer at TenFold Corp. in South Jordan, Utah, compares his companys technology with a spreadsheet: "Its a rendering engine," he said when we spoke last week. "Spreadsheets just work. You have to verify their logic, but the rest is universal." TenFolds authoring environment, TenFoldTools, seeks to deliver a similar kind of interactive, high-productivity experience: I look forward to a planned review of the companys next major release sometime in the next few months.
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