Internet Tools Survey.

I Find Karma (
Fri, 29 Nov 96 21:29:09 PST

[They still haven't added some critical things to this site, but they've
added some stuff since I last visited, so it's worth another look/]

"Internet Tool Survey" - summary follows:

The Internet Tool Survey is part of a larger project, Scaling Object
Services Architectures to the Internet, whose overall goal is to enable
the rapid construction of Internet-enabled applications for electronic
commerce, command and control, and virtual enterprises. Our thesis is
that an extensible architecture is needed that combines the
representational power of today's object technology with the scalability
and openness of today's Internet tools, including World Wide Web. We are
working to extend a class of architectures called object services
architectures to be scaleable and Internet-enabled.

Today, object services architectures (OSAs) are frameworks which consist
of a messaging backplane and a collection of orthogonal plug-in object
services. The messaging backplane, called an Object Request Broker by
the Object Management Group (OMG) and Component Object Model
(COM)/Network OLE by Microsoft, supports an object model and distributed
message passing communication between the various services. Benefits
include a principled architecture and a rich services toolkit which, if
adopted widely, would extend the kinds of benefits provided by today's
standard GUI components, common look-and-feel, to a much broader domain,
that of common semantics, as provided by a common object services
toolkit. End-users would benefit from ease of understanding applications
built from a common set of services. Developers would benefit from the
availability of a library of common, tested parts and could customize
only some parts or include some services instead of starting from
scratch when building custom systems. Limitations of OSAs at present
include lack of maturity, modest adoption rates, and limited
architectural provision for federation of services though there is good
progress on federation of backplanes.

At the same time, today, a number of widely-used tools are available in
the Internet environment. One of them, the World Wide Web (WWW or The
Web), is an increasingly pervasive addition on top of basic Internet
protocols that makes is possible for people world wide to access and
publish globally accessible hypermedia documents. Beyond the clear
benefit of providing a platform-independent way to share information,
there is still the challenge of extending the reach of the web beyond
unstructured and semi-structured to structured information, which object
technology handles well.

Today, corporations, as well as the Government, are moving from
proprietary internal networks to intranets, using Internet technologies
within a corporate firewall or other protection perimeter. And they are
adopting object technology. What is needed is a way to improve both web
and object technology frameworks and to grow these architectures
together so that the advantages of both can be available to next
generation application builders.

Steps in our three year project are:

1. Identify today's object and Internet technologies and tools (this
Internet tools survey),
2. Extend the architecture of both OSAs and Internet tools toward
unification, and
3. Demonstrate a reference implementation of (some of) this unified
architecture based wherever possible on existing tools.

Our approach is open. We are working towards this end not only in our
project but also through standards groups like OMG (chairing the OMG
Internet Special Interest Group), helping to create forums like the
Joint W3C-OMG Workshop on Distributed Objects and Mobile Code (June
24-25 1996 in Boston), and working with like-minded industry groups
including the National Industrial Information Infrastructure Protocols
(NIIIP) consortium (a DARPA Electronics Technology Office Technology
Reinvestment Project) and other members of the DARPA Information
Technology Office Defense Technology Integration and Infrastructure (see
also DTII Workshop Proceedings '96) community and the DARPA Information
Systems Office Intelligent Integration of Information Technology for the
Dynamic Database (I3) (see also I3 Workshop Proceedings '96) community.