Standards body the Object Management Group (OMG) has issued a request for technology to fill the gap left by the failed IBM-backed Opendoc initiative.
The technology for component based development, when it is ratified as a standard, will be positioned squarely against Microsoft?s ActiveX and DCOM object models and is intended to make application development based on the OMG's Corba specifications easier.
One submission will come from the so-called 'Gang of Four' - IBM, Sunsoft, Oracle and Netscape - with technology that will, in effect, cross Sun's Java Beans with Opendoc.
One source said: ?The OMG needs a graphical component story, even though the one it picked, Opendoc, did not keep the support of its backers. In public, the request for proposals doesn?t compete with Opendoc, but it will replace Opendoc in essence. The OMG is moving to ensure it has something in this area. You could portray it as another desperate struggle between it and Microsoft, but component development is a niche both are looking to fill.?
IBM closed CI Labs, the unit responsible for developing Opendoc, earlier this year, and moved the software into maintenance mode, blaming lack of interest among the developer community.
But Big Blue is championing the move to find a replacement component development model. Together with the rest of the Gang of Four it has issued a white paper on the subject, dubbed 'Corba Component Imperatives'.
The four companies plan to submit their work to the OMG, which will appear as a cross between Java Beans and Opendoc and enable developers to slot any Corba-compliant objects into a component framework.
The aim of the proposal is to provide programmers with an easy and graphical way to assemble Corba objects into applications and to enable suppliers to build visual development tools and scripting languages that could be used by unsophisticated developers.
At the moment, the development of Corba-based applications has been widely criticised as being complex, expensive and time consuming.
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