If productivity is an issue in maintaining applications, research from the Compuware Corp. indicates that model-driven, pattern-based development may be the answer.
Results said that productivity gains approach 70% in the maintenance phase of the application lifecycle using MDPB development.
The gains were measured using Compuware's OptimalJ against code-centric integrated development environments. OptimalJ is an enterprise application development environment that uses patterns to automatically translate business models into working applications.
Two teams comprised of a senior J2EE architect and developer performed five diverse enhancements to the same J2EE application, J2EE PetStore, the research said. The upgrades were typical enhancements. One team used an updated version of Compuware OptimalJ, while the other used an updated version of the same traditional, code-centric IDE.
The team taking the model approach completed the five enhancements 37% faster than the traditional team, in 165 hours versus 260.
"[MDPB] seems particularly well suited for enterprise-class applications. The productivity benefits are greatest with more complex applications and data structures," the research report said. "MDA also seems particularly well suited for handling integration technologies, particularly JMS, Web services and JCA.
"The learning curve can be significant. While it spares you from writing or editing plumbing code and simplifies many design decisions, it still exposes the details of J2EE technology. More importantly, it adds the intricacies of multiple layers of models. Its power goes hand in hand with complexity. Architects practicing it must learn it on top of (rather than instead of) J2EE. On the other hand, to the extent that a particular tool can segregate modeling from coding, thereby solidifying the division of labor between architects and developers, the developers will face a much shallower learning curve."