Published in Solutions Integrator by Joe Devlin and Emily Berk Click here for list of articles
  March 15, 1998 RAD tools begin to take on multi-tiered application development
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The RAD paradigm becomes more, not less, important as we move from two-to three-tier development. Scott Hebner, IBM Software

 

     

THE SLOW BOAT TO THREE TIER

When it comes to moving business logic to a middle tier, there are some things RAD can't hasten.

Vendors are rushing to ship RAD tools that simplify multitier development, but some integrators are quite willing to wait. "The Web's success is forcing a paradigm shift that's taking us and our customers toward three tier," says Howard Block, technical director at Per-Se Technologies, a large integrator based in Atlanta. "But that doesn't mean two-tier client/server work is going away anytime soon."

"The Web's success is forcing a paradigm shift that's taking us and our customers toward three tier."Howard Block, Per-Se Technologies

Certainly not with customers such as Bowne & Co., for instance,one of the world's largest financial printers. Bowne distributes a huge amount of electronic documentation via the Internet and wants to move toward a three-tier environment to perform that work better, Block reports.

"Right now their databases are running on VAX systems," he says. "They want to migrate those databases to NT, partly because of the new development tools available for Windows. But it's not the sort of thing you do overnight."

Handling The Business-Logic Move

Much of the work Per-Se has done for Bowne so far has been with Sybase's PowerBuilder. lt has proved to be a good development environment that offers a ready pool of programmers Block can hire to get the job done.

Bowne's existing business logic was built for a two-tier client/server world. Sybase's forthcoming tools will let Per-Se move the business logic to a three-tier environment without having to scrap all the legacy code. Too bad neither vendor nor customer is ready for it.

"The architecture behind PowerBuilder has long supported the separation of business logic and GUI in preparation for three-tier architecture. All of our PowerBuilder development efforts involve this separation. PowerSoft is finally starting to provide tools that art able to move this business logic to other tiers," he observes.

"Working in a two-tier model makes sense for many of our clients today. When it comes time to move that logic to a middle tier, I'm confident that the tool will be able to handle the move."

 
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