Models and Measures

Opinion: Next-generation systems depend on high-level design aids and open performance measurement standards.

Announcements this week from Swedens Telelogic and Alfresco Software in San Francisco address both ends of the process that brings the next generation of Web-based applications to reality.

Telelogic announced Nov. 27 its release of Version 3.0 of its Tau model-driven design tool. I had a chance to review the details of the new version in advance of that announcement, and I was struck by the way that the demands of mainstream enterprise application development have caught up with the things that Tau was designed to do.

The target market for Tau has traditionally been among builders of complex, distributed, heterogeneous real-time systems—think "intelligent battlefield" or "pay-at-the-pump retail"—rather than the comparatively uninteresting world of vanilla terminals whose response times could vary up to several seconds before an application would be said to be broken. The world of Web services is now a highly message-driven environment in which different types of device use a complex mesh of communication channels to provide prompt access to anything from financial market transactions to traffic alerts and updated driving instructions.

The abstraction of model-driven development, combined with Tau 3.0s enhancements aimed at accelerating the coding of Web services interactions, represents a timely aid to the hottest spot in development today—or at least to the developer topic thats tied with that of addressing Vista compatibility issues, but thats another matter for another time.

Later this week, well see another announcement from Alfresco Software and several partner companies concerning the joint development of an open-source benchmark for JSR-170 content repository performance. Getting away from application-specific file systems to more comprehensive, far more robust content management foundations has long been a goal that Ive wanted to see the industry pursue: An open-source benchmark, whose details well see soon, offers us a common and transparent means of characterizing the capability and especially the scalability of alternative approaches to that end.

From the design work that precedes development and deployment, to the reliable capture and efficient usability of the content that new applications may consume, deliver or produce, announcements like these continue to strengthen the fabric of the online enterprise.

Tell me what you see as the fraying ends of the application development process at


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