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A safety net for high flying J2EE applications

How to ensure consistency of development for building a reusable infrastructure for improved long term computing value.


Guest Commentary
A safety net for high flying J2EE applications

The maturity sightline on J2EE specifications is clear; particularly with the upcoming changes afoot at the JCP, the specifications should continue to evolve in a healthy and efficient fashion. But the maturity sightline of enterprise applications that take full advantage of current J2EE specifications is not quite so clear. One of the problems is that building enterprise applications with Java continues to be a moving target inasmuch as developers need to focus on delivering functionality within the time constraints of business, and at the same time keep up to speed with the latest specifications for J2EE. Development managers scramble to ensure consistency of development for building a reusable infrastructure for improved long term computing value.

With the growing complexity of enterprise computing environments, the continual time constraints, the evolution of J2EE, and the drive to build more efficient, maintainable applications, development shops are being asked to take on some complex acrobatics to solve business problems with J2EE technology. Having thorough J2EE knowledge is a great asset, but how many enterprises have the depth of resources needed and the time to ensure their J2EE architecture is being built soundly?

One way is to improve the usability and support coming from Java IDEs. Hurwitz Group has seen this hit over the last year. Another way is to adopt a productized architecture that provides code to support application behavior. Note, this isn't just infrastructure code for transaction services such as those found in infrastructure products like J2EE application servers. Wakesoft is now on the scene with its Wakesoft Architecture Server, specifically focused on providing an application architecture to speed development, improve consistency, and in many ways provide a safety net for our high flying development acrobats.

THE HURWITZ TAKE: Java application development is entering a phase of daredevil theatrics, if you will - one in which developers are building more complex, componentized applications for greater scalability and reuse. This coincides with the maturation of J2EE and the underlying supporting infrastructure in J2EE application servers, which has stabilized and become a "definitely buy" product. Hurwitz Group believes that productized architectures make sense - a lot of sense. This kind of product is indicative of several issues:

  • J2EE is not only here to stay but is also being further pushed to run high volume, mission-critical applications in enterprises of all industries.
  • Building J2EE applications involves complex decision making.
  • Offloading some of these decisions into a product helps relieve a portion of the burden carried by the most skilled developers and architects.
  • With the push to make Java IDEs easier to use, newer, less skilled Java developers are moving to the language and thus the architecture without necessarily having the full "know how" needed to build scalable, reusable application components. The Java developer community is growing, but in that growth we can't raise everyone to the upper echelon of skill sets as quickly as business demands.

The J2EE application theatrics are getting more stunning. We're moving from Barnum and Bailey's to Cirque du Soleil - with J2EE applications. Wakesoft's Architecture Server is coming at a time when more emphasis needs to be put on building sound J2EE architectures that help us divide and conquer our application development challenges and rollout dazzling, high performance applications that satisfy even the most discerning business user.


Copyright 2002 Hurwitz Group Inc. This article is excerpted from TrendWatch, a weekly publication of Hurwitz Group Inc. - an analyst, research, and consulting firm. To register for a free email subscription, click here.

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