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The business information system of the future will take the form of a swarm of business objects that are event-driven, concurrently executing, and running in a heterogeneous distributed environment. The inherent complexity of the business-object development process requires a difficult-to-find combination of skills in its developers. This complexity needs to be reduced to enable the participation of typical developers and to yield more successful projects. Fortunately, there are many common aspects among business objects. This paper describes a development approach that exploits these commonalities, reducing complexity through systematically defined, separate layers. The approach was developed in a research effort performed by the Application Development Effectiveness practice of the IBM Consulting Group in the Netherlands. It was subsidized by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs as an information technology innovation project. A “proof of concept” was obtained in a joint project with Rabobank in the Netherlands. The result is a component-based development process with well-defined reuse points and rapid-application-development (RAD) characteristics. With this approach, robust business objects can be developed and tested individually and concurrently in large teams, then dynamically assembled into business applications and work-flows as desired.
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