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Emerging standards for component software

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1 Author(s)
Adler, R.M. ; Coordinated Comput. Technol., Medford, MA, USA

Component software benefits include reusability and interoperability, among others. What are the similarities and differences between the competing standards for this new technology, and how will they interoperate? Object-oriented technology is steadily gaining acceptance for commercial and custom application development through programming languages such as C++ and Smalltalk, object oriented CASE tools, databases, and operating systems such as Next Computer's NextStep. Two emerging technologies, called compound documents and component software, will likely accelerate the spread of objectoriented concepts across system-level services, development tools, and application-level behaviours. Tied closely to the popular client/server architecture for distributed computing, compound documents and component software define object-based models that facilitate interactions between independent programs. These new approaches promise to simplify the design and implementation of complex software applications and, equally important, simplify human-computer interactive work models for application end users. Following unfortunate tradition, major software vendors have developed competing standards to support and drive compound document and component software technologies. These incompatible standards specify distinct object models, data storage models, and application interaction protocols. The incompatibilities have generated confusion in the market, as independent software vendors, system integrators, in-house developers, and end users struggle to sort out the standards' relative merits, weaknesses, and chances for commercial success. Let's take a look now at the general technical concepts underlying compound documents and component software. Then we examine the OpenDoc, OLE 2, COM, and CORBA standards being proposed for these two technologies. Finally, we'll review the work being done to extend the standards and to achieve interoperability across them

Published in:

Computer  (Volume:28 ,  Issue: 3 )