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A Good Internet Tool Is Hard to Find

-- by James E. Powell

Times are tough for programmers. For starters, there's that pesky year 2000 problem. On top of that, it's getting harder to find the tools needed to move applications to the Internet-mostly because everyone involved seems to use a different approach.

"The marketplace is going through a third wave," said Alan Tonnesen, executive vice president of Paramus, N.J.-based Passport, a fourth-generation language software developer. "We had character-based apps, then GUI, now the Internet." And compounding the confusion is the multitude of middleware products, enterprise databases and team development repositories.

A question of scale

Most of all, there's a scalability problem. After all, it's easier to develop applications that one or two people will use at once, rather than one or two thousand. Security, performance, location-these are all issues that bring their share of serious problems.

So, developers are turning to enterprise-class client/server tools-particularly Java. And while much attention is focused on the debate between pure Java and ActiveX, developers need tools and solutions now.

IntRprise, from Passport, helps build enterprise client/server applications, and with a simple relink you can create Internet-based apps. The client PC uses a single Java applet for any such IntRprise application and applications remain on the server.

Another option is Omnis Studio from Omnis Software in Foster City, Calif. This rapid-application development tool has cross-platform, cross-database and cross-object integration and customization.

Not every new tool is Java-based. Waltham, Mass.-based EPiCON's ALTiS uses a plug-in on the Windows 95 or 3.1x client PC. The NT/IIS server-side Administrator creates an instruction file so the client knows how to run a Windows app.

Windows Magazine, September 1997, page 58.

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