'Lego' software defines new era of development

'Lego' software defines new era of development

The rapidly emerging electronic era has pushed the boundaries of technological development beyond Moore's law. Phenomena such as the Linux open system begin to make it possible even for software developers to improve their products at a pace previously unheard of, but the software industry continues to look at ways to improve its productivity to meet the demand driven by the e-commerce boom.

While it's no secret to software developers that component-based development is one of the most viable techniques in terms of productivity improvements, the industry still seems reluctant to apply the idea on a massive scale.

But according to analyst GartnerGroup, the companies that make an investment in component-based development over the next five years will be able to deliver new applications seven or eight times faster than their competitors who don't do component-based development, giving them a huge start in e-commerce development space.

`Component development will become a huge issue in e-business, because now, to deliver new applications, time is being measured in Internet years - an Internet year supposedly being four months,' explained Steve Gerard, vice president for strategic development at US software company Princeton Softech.

As a set of techniques for developing software components that are pre-tested and reusable, modular development has been around for awhile, with languages such as Java and Visual Basic, as well as Microsoft's COM architecture all being component-based.

Amir Yampel, director of sales of the Australian arm of Israeli e-commerce specialist Magic Software Enterprises, using component-based development has allowed his company to reduce a typical e-commerce application development from three to one-and-a-half months.

`What we've found is that as a provider of e-commerce solutions we can use software components as children would use Lego and our time- to-market cycle has been shortened significantly.'

Magic's own component-development tools have been sold to over 100,000 licensees around the world, however, industry experts warn smaller developers they need to become a lot more active in this space or risk being left behind.

`Component-based programming is the industrial revolution of software development, because it brings industrial principles that have been successful in other businesses, such as manufacturing automobiles or anything else, to software development and this is extremely important in the Internet age,' Princeton Softech's Gerard said.

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