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J2EE, .NET - what was before ?


I'm a relatively young developer (25) witnessing the rise of the server-side
enterprise technologies like J2EE and .NET which makes me wondering how world
existed before those frameworks were developed ? I mean, there *were* enterprise
applications long before Java and .NET - how were they build ? Using what language ?

Thank you !

Evgeny Goldin
Thursday, August 29, 2002

The problem has never been the language, but rather the services you had available, i.e., how much functionality does the system provide "out of the box", and how much must you build from scratch. In ohter words, what kind of foundation do you have.

What J2EE provides is a unified set of services, presented with standard interfaces, for your use. This means there's a lot of "plumbing" that you don't have to build yourself. I suppose the asme thing is true for .NET.

AFAIK, before J2EE you had Corba and that ever-evolving thing that one day was called DCOM, the next day was COM+, etc.

Before this, I don't really know. I guess you had sockets and aCembler. Or aCembler++ :)

Suravye ninto manshima taishite ("Peace favor your sword")
Paulo Caetano

Paulo Caetano
Thursday, August 29, 2002

I think most were bulit using Perl or plain old C and CGI. Its still a valid aproach.

Eric DeBois
Thursday, August 29, 2002

Ok - Here's a question - how does an "enterprise application" differ from an regular old-fashioned application?

The guy above hinted that "Enterprise Applications" are really just web services (Perl/CGI or .Net or J2EE), which is kinda reinforced by the guy that talked about sockets programming.

But that's not what enterprise apps really are.  I would hope most folks would agree that is not an "enterprise app", it's a commercial app or consumer app. ( "Residential App?")

Enterprise apps are created for a business - they are really _BIG_ IT apps.  In other words, they are applications that an entire business can use "across it's enterprise" - but are generally not really for sale/use by direct customers.

In other words, Enterprise Apps automate various internal processes, they aren't sold to consumers.

In other words - does anyone have a real good definiton of "Enterprise Applications", or is it just VaporWare, like Joel Spolsky warned .dot was gonna be two year ago? :-)


Matt H.
Thursday, August 29, 2002

The closest equivalent to J2EE and .NET is CICS.  It's a transaction server, db stuff, MOM, etc...

So before there were J2EE and .NET there was CICS, and apps. were written in COBOL, sometimes PL/1.

Anything else you want to know from the dinosaur age of computing...

Thursday, August 29, 2002

"Really_Big_App" yeah.  There have always been enterprise App's in the sense of "Really_Big_App's"  that ran the business: Airline reservations,  Telephone service order systems, and the like.  They are breathtakingly complex systems and amazingly reliable systems now.

They've been there for 30 years, they've always run on IBM mainframes and probably always will during my lifetime.

I think that the term Enterprise Application, as understood today, is a consultants' theory that you can write new applications and/or buy middleware that would make it easier and cheaper to integrate applications (that didn't run on IBM mainframes) in such a way to add add value to the business.

Darn good idea.  Open standards are the holy grail.

The other defintion of Enterprise Application is that you buy SAP and Peopleware and you've got everything you need to run a really big business.

Where I worked we built a data contract system ourselves, tuned like crazy, and waited breathlessly (actually we didn't hold our breath) for CORBA and CORBA based middleware.  The mainframes are still there, the contract system is still there, CORBA is in the mix now, J2EE is progress.  It all helped.  It is still really hard.

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Greenspun had a good article on enterprise apps and ejbs and scalability etc... but I think there is a general misconception about what an enterprise is. An enterprise app is not one used by the whole enterprise, but an app (which may or may not be used by the whole enterprise) which ties together disparate systems from throughout an enterprise. 

Daniel Shchyokin
Thursday, August 29, 2002

Absolutely correct nojuan.  Transaction processing is the foundation.  Really big companies used and still use IMS and boatloads of COBOL.

Thursday, August 29, 2002

There was transaction managers like Tuxedo, there were databases like DB2 and Oracle, and there were files and network connections. There's no magic in J2EE, it's just a standard set.

One of the things that "were before", and which J2EE and friends were supposed to address was the lack of standard session management, user identification , authorization semantics, etc. As far as I can tell, in practice these problems are just as bad as ever, but - at least theoretically, you're much better off.

Ori Berger
Thursday, August 29, 2002

Well at my company the reliable server is an HP3000 running Cobol.  The other ones, which we are implementing an ERP application on are all NT and suffer reliability problems inherent to the design of the OS. 

To hear the marketers tell it we have been lucky to get by with the "stone age" toolsets people have used for the last 30 to 40 years, but now with .NET upon us, the sky is the limit.  I think that is a bunch of crap.  I think software running on mainframes and Unix does all the heavy lifting and will for quite sometime.  .NET will only tie to that to provide some info to the web, or other quick and dirty intranet or in house apps. 

Actually, I think we were better off before as far as business application programming.  How many times did you have to reboot those AS/400's running Cobol vs the NT server leaking its brains out through someones shitty VB?  Companies have traded reliability for fashion when it comes to languages and platforms, I think the downturn in the economy may be just what companies need to realize they don't have to get on the latest overpriced bandwagon.


Crusty admin.

ryan ware
Thursday, August 29, 2002

I don't know much about other company and .NET.

From Microsoft (non-.NET), there are:

1.  VBScript/ASP - the equivalent of JSP
2. ODBC - the equivalent of JDBC
3. COM/DCOM - the equivalent of CORBA
4. MTS - the equivalent of EJB container
5. CDO/MAPI - the equivalent of JavaMail

Amour Tan
Friday, August 30, 2002

<< How many times did you have to reboot those AS/400's running Cobol vs the NT server leaking its brains out through someones shitty VB >>

Good point. I think that's the problem of mass-believing that every donkey can be a software developer.

Evgeny Goldin
Friday, August 30, 2002

...Not to mention that every donkey claims to be a qualified Sys Admin these days..

Ill be damned, but I think I bought in to the hype on this one. I see now that my idea of Enterprise apps was way off.
But then again, Ive been reading books and tuts that claim to teach enterprise application programming but really talk about advanced web development, so its not my fault ;-)

Eric DeBois
Friday, August 30, 2002

Most true enterprise apps that exist today are not web aware.  They toil day in and day out in the bowels of the corporation (nice imagery, huh?). 

Today the marketers of the "new" technology seem to think that it is not an enterprise app if it is not web aware.  I for one think we are in for even bigger security issues if web services become as big as marketers say. 

Since the web became common place in business, those businesses that connect to it do what?  They put a firewall in place.  Now with the advent of web services everything will be riding in and out of the firewall on port 80.  Think about it how many chat clients, kaaza type programs now will work from inside corporate firewalls simply because they go through port 80.

Companies that bet the farm on web services had better be certain that the "new" technology is secure.  Myself I have serious concerns about this on .NET based soley on who it comes from.  They gave us Nimda, Code Red, Anna, Melissa and thousands of others, yet they are building the most secure platform ever, well I for one can't wait to see it.

ryan ware
Saturday, August 31, 2002

"They gave us Nimda, Code Red, Anna, Melissa and thousands of others, yet they are building the most secure platform ever, well I for one can't wait to see it. "

Microsoft write viruses now Ryan? Wheres your cite for this one?

Robert Moir
Monday, September 2, 2002

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