Models and Measures

By Peter Coffee  |  Print this article Print


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

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

Announcements this week from Sweden's 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 3.0's 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 that's tied with that of addressing Vista compatibility issues, but that's another matter for another time.

Later this week, we'll 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 I've wanted to see the industry pursue: An open-source benchmark, whose details we'll 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 peter_coffee@ziffdavis.com.

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Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at salesforce.com, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developers' technical requirements on the company's evolving Apex Platform. Peter previously spent 18 years with eWEEK (formerly PC Week), the national news magazine of enterprise technology practice, where he reviewed software development tools and methods and wrote regular columns on emerging technologies and professional community issues.Before he began writing full-time in 1989, Peter spent eleven years in technical and management positions at Exxon and The Aerospace Corporation, including management of the latter company's first desktop computing planning team and applied research in applications of artificial intelligence techniques. He holds an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Pepperdine University, he has held teaching appointments in computer science, business analytics and information systems management at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Chapman College.

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