2002 A Model Year for App Dev

Accenture, Borland ready tools for simplifying deployment of java applications and web services.

The application development industry is making subtle shifts to accommodate corporate requirements for creating Web services—particularly the need for more upfront modeling.

Major development tool makers, including Accenture Ltd. and Borland Software Corp., are rolling out products that feature such modeling capabilities.

New York-based Accenture in July will launch Accenture Web Service and Application Development Platform, which will be available as a hosted service, said Michael Condon, director of the companys Web services consulting group. The first version will focus on Microsoft Corp.s .Net, followed by a Java 2 Enterprise Edition version at the end of the year, Condon said.

"We saw this with some of the work we were doing for our clients around Web services," Condon said. "We looked at it and said this is something thats going to change the way we do application development."

Meanwhile, Borland this week will announce a new version of its JBuilder Java development tool and Borland Enterprise Studio 4 for Java, which includes JBuilder Version 7 and tools for modeling, testing and team development. Tony de la Lama, vice president and general manager of Java solutions at Borland, in Scotts Valley, Calif., called the new release an all-in-one package for modeling, development and deployment of Java applications and Web services.

JBuilder 7 includes tools that span the development life cycle, including TeamSource for collaboration, Optimizeit for performance testing and a Unified Modeling Language-like design and modeling capability, de la Lama said.

At least two IT managers had differing views of the modeling news.

"I dont think its necessary to change the software dev process at all," said Rich Salz, principal software engineer at DataPower Technology Inc., in Cambridge, Mass. "These guys are just trying to make money. Does it require whole new methodologies? Here, Im skeptical. New tool kits, yes. New compilers? I dont know; my existing C++ compiler and Python interpreter do XML just fine. New methodologies? Maybe."

But Michael Brassard, founder and chief technology officer at Codagen Technologies Corp., in Montreal, disagreed. "I dont think that existing development schemes for creating static apps suffice for building Web services," Brassard said.

Accentures and Borlands moves follow similar ones made earlier this month by Microsoft and Sun Microsystems Inc. Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., announced it was licensing Rational Software Corp.s Rational XDE (Extended Development Environment), which includes modeling support.

Sun, of Santa Clara, Calif., announced its NetBeans unit had implemented Object Management Group Inc.s MDA (Model Driven Architecture) in its development environment. MDA captures business logic in reusable modules and, in Web services development, insulates them from changes in the services deployment infrastructure, said Simon Phipps, Suns chief technology evangelist. "This changes how you do enterprise software development," Phipps said. "It will let you do modeling, not just programming."