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Application Development
Programmers need to meet more demands than ever. These products can help.

All of a sudden, it's no longer enough for software developers to build Windows applications. Apps must now be Internet-enabled--or better yet, Web-enabled. Everyone should be able to see your data and run your app on whatever machine they use--without even having to install it.

To meet your changing needs, vendors have begun to offer more and better RAD (rapid application development) tools and to come up with client/server tools that actually work with real databases. They are now providing Java development systems, HTML editors of every stripe and tools for developing entire Web sites. They've even come up with the beginnings of multitier app support, though no two vendors agree on exactly what that means.

Developers are learning to create new eye candy for the Web. Java development product lifetimes are measured in months, as the Java software development kit (SDK) moves from 1.0x to 1.1 and on. Meanwhile, Java development environments, and compilers and virtual machines, are getting good enough to build some serious apps.

Microsoft's ActiveX is another new product for developers. Most of the significant tools for creating Component Object Model (COM) objects and ActiveX controls come from Microsoft, but a few other vendors are starting to tweak their own tools to support ActiveX development. Part of the ActiveX story is scripting--on the client, desktop and server. Any compliant scripting language can play, although Microsoft provides VBScript and JScript (a version of Netscape's JavaScript, with no linguistic relation to Java). Meanwhile, developers continue to create Web sites with raw HTML and CGI scripts, most of which are written in Perl.

Finally, there are palmtops. If you long for the days when you wrote in C to the Windows API and conserved every scrap of RAM, you're in luck. Writing for Windows CE can make you joyfully miserable again.


Application Development: The Winners

Copyright © 1997 CMP Media Inc.