CORBA: CASE for the late '90s?

Douglas C. Schmidt
C++ Report
February 1997

Distributed object computing (DOC) has received a substantial amount of attention over the past several years. DOC uses OO techniques to distribute reusable services and applications over multiple, often heterogeneous, computing and networking elements. The most widely publicized DOC tools are based on OMG's CORBA, Microsoft's Distributed COM (DCOM), and JavaSoft's Java Remote Method Invocation (RMI).

With potentially lucrative technologies like DOC, there are always opportunists who ``ride the wave'' to further their careers, regardless of whether they truly understand or support the technology. Over the past decade, I've witnessed this phenomenon with AI expert systems, CASE tools, OO methods, software process maturity models, C++, frameworks, components, patterns, and Java. It's remarkable to watch the same opportunists re-position themselves time and again, with every change in technological fashion and fortune.

Recently I've spoken with several notable technologists who feel that the hype associated with DOC technologies is yet another example of the triumph of marketing over technology. While I share their distain for the shameless hucksterism surrounding DOC, I don't think it's quite as easy to dismiss distributed object computing as it was to dismiss earlier generations of over-hyped technologies like CASE tools. Here's why:

However, this is no call for complacency. I'm continually amazed at companies and managers that are so desperate for distributed object salvation that they completely ignore anything negative about existing CORBA, DCOM, or Java RMI products. In this context, the hucksters will keep right on peddling their (vapor)wares, unless we keep them honest.

This issue of C++ Report contains three articles that focus on CORBA. Jennifer Hamilton describes the use of Distributed SOM's ``DirectToSOM'' C++ compiler; Steve Vinoski and I present an overview of the CORBA Events Service; and Rocky Stewart, James Storey, and Dehua Huang illustrate how they've enhanced the CORBA Events Service and applied it to a commercial CORBA-based telecommunications management system. We'll be covering other C++ DOC technologies, in particular DCOM, in subsequent issues of the C++ Report.

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Last modified 11:34:38 CDT 28 September 2006