WebGain boosts component reuse

WebGain has announced Application Composer, software that enables Visual Basic and other non-Java developers to build applications and deploy them on a J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) platform.

The software will also extend Webgain's efforts to help developers reuse application components, according to Ted Farrell, chief technology officer of WebGain.

Corporations and developers have toyed with the concept of reuse, but thus far have mostly failed for lacking ways to identify, catalogue, test and manage components once they are built.

Farrell said technologies such as Java and XML can be used to further reuse. More importantly, however, they can be used to win over developers.

"We want to get developers in the mindset, and that's not a quick change. It's a process," Farrell added.

One of the pieces WebGain will use to help developers reap the rewards of reuse comes from a pact with ComponentSource that will allow users of WebGain to find and obtain any of the pre-written components that ComponentSource offers via its Web site. A Component Source spokeswoman said that such functionality will likely be available in May, and WebGain plans to detail its plans in June.

"We don't have to worry about

the developers, they'll catch on

to reuse," said Tyler McDaniel, a senior analyst for application strategies

at Hurwitz Group.

McDaniel added that business decision makers are typically slower to embrace technology changes than developers.

He added, however, that with the current financial downturn, the advantages of reuse are becoming evident.

"By reusing components, companies can get the most mileage out of what they already have".

Analysts said that application development is increasingly headed towards reuse. Market research company Gartner, for instance, projects that by 2003, 70 per cent of new applications will be assembled by using pre-written commercial software components and application frameworks.

"The industry is starting to build these [reusable] components and we're getting our feet wet with the idea of reuse, but we haven't gotten to the point where it's widespread," McDaniel said. "The process takes time - you've got to walk before you can run."