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The Need for Big Apps

It will be interesting over the coming year to witness the progress of open source software

It will be interesting over the coming year to witness the progress of open source software in general and open source in application development in particular. IBM, chided by many members of the open source community for taking the proprietary approach to app development (through WebSphere, for example), nonetheless claims to be a strong proponent of open source approaches where applicable.

And it's applicability that may determine the ultimate fate of open source software and of the debate surrounding it. The offices of SYS-CON Media, publisher of this magazine, were treated recently by executives from a leading application integration vendor, who outlined his company's global strategy in addressing the needs of a customer base that has the most extensive demands imaginable.

It seemed clear from discussing things with these execs that there are certain areas, many areas, in which the rich development environment of a WebSphere remains an essential ingredient to mission-critical success. Such things as airline reservations systems, for example, with their high number of transactions, confidential credit card information, and necessity to sync up reservations information with company operations, are something that one can imagine very few companies trusting to anything less han the most full-featured development environment imaginable. Talk from open source boosters of paying proprietary "tax" to vendors such as IBM can seem to be a fallacious argument when one considers the actual needs of the application and the inherent risk in developing it to the needs of the customer.

That said, this issue of WebSphere Journal delivers another suite of articles targeted at these demanding environments. Tilak Mitra offers the first of two articles about Service Component Architecture. Advanced Authentication in WAS, a critical feature inherent in the world of the app server, is addressed in one of our features this month. Other prime topics include EJB and another article about Service Component Architecture, this one about building SOA solutions within this context. Another WAS article, this one about adopting non-S OAP HTTP, addresses another important element that developers and architects often face in their mission-critical world. And we also feature the second article in a series focused on overall software development project management success. IBM has developed a two-tier approach to the apparent open source vs. proprietary dichotomy, and this publication continues to cover that upper-tier world, characterized by large companies doing large applications. Other vendors, notably BEA, try to square the circle by offering blended approaches and dividing the application development world into application types throughout all enterprises, rather than looking at typical small-business vs. large-company needs.

So the debate will continue. But the marketing-department positioning by major vendors, including IBM, and the continuing open source debates, which tend to cast people on each side of the argument as either "right" or "wrong," are of little consequence to the forward progress of WebSphere developers. Whether developing an airlines reservation system, a global supply chain for a major industrial or retail company, an information portal and intranet that covers customers, suppliers, and employees, it is clear that there are major parts of the IT world that will continue to demand the most highly developed environment imaginable. To those readers, we continue to offer WebSphere Journal!

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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SYS-CON India News Desk 01/28/06 03:38:08 PM EST

It will be interesting over the coming year to witness the progress of open source software in general and open source in application development in particular. IBM, chided by many members of the open source community for taking the proprietary approach to app development (through WebSphere, for example), nonetheless claims to be a strong proponent of open source approaches where applicable.

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