WebGain furthers component reuse strategy

WebGain Inc. yeseterday 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 also will extend Webgain's efforts to help developers reuse application components, according to Ted Farrell, CTO of WebGain, in Santa Clara, California.

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

Farrell said technologies, such as Java and XML, can be used to further reuse. More important, however, will be winning 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 likely will 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 continued 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," he said.

Analysts said that application development is headed toward more reuse. Market research company Gartner, for instance, projects that by 2003, 70 percent 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," Hurwitz's McDaniel added. "The process takes time -- you've got to walk before you can run."

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