Demonstrates how to take full advantage of Java's power on servers by using current technologies such as Java Servlets, Java Web server, and JNDI.
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Ted Neward is an independent software development architect and mentor in the Sacramento, California area. He is the author of a number of books, including Server-Based Java Programming (Manning), the forthcoming EffectiveEnterprise Java (Addison-Wesley) and Shared Source CLI Essentials (O'Reilly) and co-author of C# In a Nutshell (O'Reilly) with Peter Drayton and Ben Albahari. He is also an instructor with DevelopMentor, where he teaches and authors both the Java and .NET curriculum. He speaks frequently for technology user groups and writes technical papers for www.javageeks.com and www.clrgeeks.com. He currently labors on behalf of the University of California, Davis, architecting a rebuild of the Davis Accounting and Financial Information Services software system. Past clients include companies like Pacific Bell, EdFund, Synergex and Intuit.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
The ability to acquire, manage and utilize information has never been more instrumental. Without doubt, technology has been the most influential force behind the growth in economy. The Business is placing greater emphasis in information technology and with that expectations are raised. With such a heavy dependency, there is no way out. It is very difficult to find a business that does not depend on information technology in some way. Traces of information technology can be found from sales, to marketing, to inventory, to R&D. It is here and it is here to stay. It is forming the heart of the Enterprise; the nervous system of the corporation; and the business knows it.
While business looks for stability in its operations, inside the information technology department, the big wheel of change is always turning. Change in IT is as certain as Taxes in April. Successful enterprise management involves understanding and managing this never-stopping change.
The Java programming language was one such instrumental change that took the industry by storm. Its introduction was followed by a huge growth in the computer industry. There wasn't (and still isn't) a single day that a press release from a startup is promising the next big solution, the next big bang, or the next big technology. It is ironic, that such a success would be caused by a failure. Java was a descendent of a failed project at Sun Microsystems in its attempt to get into the interactive TV business. From one perspective, Java was at the right place and at the right time. The World Wide Web was just emerging as a technology that may finally allow every computer to communicate with others. The problem was lack of interactivity. Java did that in the form of shiny and multi-media rich applets. That was enough to instigate the aahs and the oohs.
The Enterprise wasn't very impressed. After all, they supposedly have better things to do than entertain corporate staff members. Gradually, while all the hype was going on, the Enterprise network saw tremendous growth. Corporate LANs turned into WANs. Internet, Intranets, and Extranets became commonplace. The growth of the network, shifted the strategy for much of the enterprise. For one thing, the enterprise became more complex and larger than before. Isolated systems were no longer isolated. It was very clear that the Web was not a show-and-tell toy. It was an interactive tool where enterprise applications could use as the base of their infrastructure.
Interactivity and Web did not go hand in hand since day one. At first, there was no interaction. You would visit a site and just keep clicking on links. The Web was basically a world of links. The first technology to attempt to bring interactivity to the Web was Common Gateway Interface (CGI). This specification allowed programs to be executed on the Web server based on data the user provided on their browser. As crude as it was, this basic specification, did wonders for the success of the Web. The potential of the Web was becoming clear to the Enterprise and there was a natural surge to use this technology to connect to the heart of information at any enterprise: the database. Web server specific technologies such as Netscape Application Programmer Interface (NSAPI) and Information Server Application Programmer Interface (ISAPI) attempted to address some of the shortcomings of CGI such as speed, lack of persistence, and memory requirements. A number of tools and servers hit the market promising easy integration of databases and the Web. There was a real value to such a marriage. Information would be accessible to more people, at more locations, and retrieval would be instantaneous. Since browsers were available on almost all platforms, portability issues were resolved to a great extent. One would think, the Business would be happy. They had the information where they wanted, and when they wanted. One would be wrong. The Business wanted the information how they wanted. The Business was never interested in raw data. Their interaction with data has always been through applications. These applications massaged the data and presented the result to the user. It was becoming clear that simple Web-database integration was not going to address this issue. The enterprise not only needed integrated data, but integrated applications.
Application development is nothing new in the computer industry. The requirements placed on the application were new. A word processor is an application. The expectation used to be that you can use such an application to type a document, perform formatting operations, save and retrieve files and print the finished document. Today, the word processor is expected to interact with the network and the data and applications that reside on the network. Furthermore, some argue that the application itself, should be on the network.
Attention is turned to development of Enterprise applications. The application must do everything it has been doing plus more. It still must execute based on business logic. It still must provide a user interface. It still must interact with back-end systems such as databases. It still is mission-critical as far as the business is concerned.
There are many approaches to development of enterprise applications. Some are better than others. Some solely depend on the specific characteristics of the enterprise and the business. Enterprise applications developed for a brokerage house are different than those developed for a manufacturing company. This book is about one paradigm under which enterprise application development can be done and that is Java Enterprise Computing. This book will show you how to leverage Java as an enterprise application development language. It will discuss specific aspects of the Java language that pertains to enterprise development. The final decision of whether Java is suitable for your enterprise needs is obviously up to you. We hope that this text will give you a serious argument for considering Java.
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