The next major incarnation of the OMG's Common Object Request Broker Architecture (Corba) should make it much easier for developers to build distributed applications. Corba 3.0, due in the second half of this year, will include a new JavaBeans object model and support for Internet firewalls. Representatives of companies that have worked with the OMG on specifying version 3.0 met at the Object Management Group's quarterly meeting last week, to discuss the latest developments. Among the participants were IBM, Oracle, Netscape and Sun. Richard Soley, chairman and CEO of the OMG, told PC Week that the company has two focuses this year: first, to target vertical markets such as insurance, health care and telecommunications; and second, to develop the Corba 3.0 infrastructure. "We are taking the features that Corba supports for component development and making it easier," he explained. In order to achieve this, Soley said that the 3.0 specification will add a component model to Corba, which includes a standard scripting language. "We also want to (provide Corba developers with) the sort of things developers can do in JavaBeans," he added. In version 3.0, Corba objects will store meta data, which is information that describes the object itself. Visual development tools will use this meta data to support drag and drop Corba rapid application development. While RAD tools tend to focus on building GUIs, Soley sees genuine potential for RAD tools capable of building application services as Corba objects. Although Corba works in a language neutral way, Soley said the OMG is looking to integrate Java Beans without changes to application code. This week, the OMG will be bringing out a specification submitted by Netscape, BEA, Iona, IBM, Novell and Visigenic to make it easy for Corba to work alongside Sun's Remote Method Invocation (RMI) in Java. Companies working on the new version are enthusiastic about the spec. Colin Newman, vice president for marketing at Iona, which produces the Orbix ORB, said version 3.0 will have more functionality out of the box. "The big thing (in Corba 3.0) is the new component model," added Jeff Mischkinsky, senior software architect at Visigenic, which manufactures the VisiBroker ORB.
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