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Data Research DPU
Data Research DPU ab
Data Research DPU for Evaluation of Information Technology

Sören Janstål
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Client/Server Application Development: Tools and Techniques

ISBN: 1-56607-033-3
Pages: 197
Published: December 1996

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About the report

CTR's report provides an in-depth analysis of client/server (C/S) application development (AD) issues and helps IS managers create and implement a strategic AD plan. The report explains both the technical and market implications of the growing trend toward C/S technology with special emphasis on how to choose from among the many application development tools (ADTs) offered by different vendors.

The report reviews why AD is one of the most important issues facing IS managers today. Organizations are budgeting more and more funds for AD in an effort to maximize the benefits of new technologies and computing paradigms. The past 10 years have seen an unending stream of new hardware technology, new architectures, new operating systems, and a broader base of new users. All of these factors are driving demand for AD resources.

The shift toward C/S computing is rapidly changing the way the modern enterprise manages and develops information. More and more mission-critical data is being delivered to end users through local area networks (LANs), and this data is increasingly residing on the LAN servers. AD in the C/S environment is not an easy task -- the report explains how to avoid the major potential difficulties and maximize results.

The report suggests step-by-step procedures for successful C/S AD. These steps include: selecting the right development environment; choosing a methodology; building the right development team; testing early and often; standardizing as much as possible; and deciding the fate of corporate legacy resources.

ADTs can dramatically reduce coding, maintenance, and development time, and increase user satisfaction. Spurred by the growing adoption of C/S architectures, tool vendors are moving to update their products in every direction. They are expanding features, operating on more platforms, offering new graphical user interfaces (GUIs), linking to complementary tools, providing gateways to multiple databases, and developing ADT standards.

The report addresses the most important factors in selecting ADTs, which include: architecture, user interfaces, information access and presentation, application logic, and platform support. CTR's report provides classifications for the different tools available and assesses relationships between the tools. The report covers ADT categories such as fourth-generation language (4GL) and computer-aided software engineering (CASE) tools.

In addition to evaluating individual tools, the report examines when and how IT managers should implement toolsets which constitute a complete AD environment. A successful AD environment should have scalability, flexibility, and programmer-productivity technologies, and offer life-cycle support. The report also discusses the importance of object-oriented programming (OOP) and GUIs to C/S AD.

CTR's report helps IS managers evaluate, select, and implement ADTs which are appropriate for their organizations and explains how to choose a vendor who is likely to evolve with the application needs of an organization. In addition to in-depth analyses of ADTs, the report covers related technologies and provides guidelines for implementing a C/S AD plan.

Report contents

Chapter 1: Client/server application development environments

  • First and Second Generation C/S
  • How to Choose the Right C/S AD Environment
  • New Tasks for C/S AD Environments
  • Review of Different Environments Available
  • Qualities C/S AD Environments Should Have: Scalability and Flexibility, Programmer Productivity Technologies, Scripting Languages, Visual Programming Environment, Object-oriented Programming (OOP), Software Life-cycle Support, Programming/Testing, Maintenance
  • Future Trends: Distributed Program Development and Business Modeling

Chapter 2: Application development methodologies

  • Creating the Right Development Team
  • Problems with Using Workgroups in Development
  • Some AD Methodologies
  • Waterfall vs. Rapid Application Development (RAD)
  • The 3-Tier Development Approach

Chapter 3: Application development standards

  • The Corporate Application Programming Interface (API)
  • Central and Line IS Responsibilities
  • Adopting and Implementing the Corporate API
  • Imposing Standards
  • Planning for the Future
  • The Independent Software Vendor (ISV) Coalition for Software Productivity Through Open Systems

Chapter 4: Client/server pitfalls

  • Case Studies of C/S Difficulties
  • SQL Statements
  • Data Synchronization
  • Scalability of Pilot Projects
  • Screen Element Compatibility
  • User Empowerment Issues
  • The Importance of Version Control
  • Middleware

Chapter 5: Testing, metrics and quality

  • Testing Difficulties and Solutions
  • Types of Tests: Stress, Functional, Black Box, Acceptability, and Regression Testing
  • Testing Methodologies
  • Designing Test Cases: Test Case Independence; Avoiding Both Redundancies and Gaps in Testing; Test Early; What to Look for in Testing Tools; Pros and Cons of Automating Testing

Chapter 6: The tools

  • Upper, Lower, and Integrated CASE Tools
  • The Repository: Active Versus Passive Repositories; Lack of Enterprisewide Repositories; Standards for Repositories
  • The Marriage of CASE and ADT
  • 4GL Tools
  • Comparisons of 4GL Tools from Different Vendors
  • GUIs
  • Rapid Prototyping
  • Inter-tool Compatibility
  • Miscellaneous Tools

Chapter 7: Object-oriented programming

  • Drawbacks and Benefits of Object Technology
  • Retraining Business Organizations for OOP
  • The Object Standard Wars: Microsoft Versus OMG
  • Interfacing with Legacy Applications
  • Three Legacy Access Approaches
  • Key Functions of OOP AD Tools
  • The Object Tools

Chapter 8: Graphical user interface development

  • Guidelines for Developing Great GUIs
  • GUI Development Tools
  • Some Cross-platform GUI Development Tools

Chapter 9: Electronic software distribution

  • Market Segments in ESD
  • Pitfalls of Buying an ESD Package
  • Planning for ESD Purchases
  • ESD Vendors

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