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This work compares and contrasts two component frameworks: (1) the web-centric Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE) framework and (2) the HPA-compliant multi-agent system (MAS). FIPA, the Foundation for Intelligent Physical Agents, provides specifications for agents and agent platforms. Both frameworks are component frameworks; servlets and Enterprise Java Beans (EJBs) in the case of J2EE and software agents in the case of MAS. Both frameworks are specification based. Both frameworks mandate platform responsibilities towards their respective component(s). We develop a framework with which to structure the comparison of the component frameworks. We apply this comparison structure in the context of a 'Data Access' scenario to application development in the respective component frameworks. Furthermore, we have prototyped this scenario in each of the two component frameworks. We conclude with a discussion of the benefits, drawbacks, and issues of developing new applications in each of the component frameworks.