Technology Positioning Statement Report

1.3.2 Software Components

Description: Software components and data interface technologies, including COTS packages that may be used in constructing special systems.

Category: 1 - Authoring and Editing   Subcategory: 3 - Special Purpose Software Tools and Components
Old Category: Middleware - Interapplication Programming Interface


  Plumtree gadgets


Industry UsageSC Usage

Performance Metrics

Reusability, XML gadget compatibility, API features, transaction services, speed, documentation quality.

Usage and Dependencies

Industry Usage: Three types of application components may be distinguished:

  • core business components
  • specialized business components
  • general use components.

Core business components provide business transactions that are the foundation of a vertical or horizontal e-business or enterprise application, typically packaged as server-based EJB or COM components. Specialized business components implement business rules or functions that support an enterprise application but are not its primary transactions. Specialized components cover a wide range of capabilities from statistical and financial calculations to data validation and address standardization. General use components include user interface and technical components, such as mail interface or network connectivity components.

The growth of e-business is forcing many enterprises to adopt multitier, Web-enabled architectures that encourage the use of server-based business components. This, in turn, leads to further adoption of EJB and COM+ as server component models, driving new demand and encouraging a new supply of core components. CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture) is giving way to web-based cross-platform delivery mechanisms like SAX and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol).

Portal vendors have established an XML standard for components that function within a web browser portal; these are called "gadgets" by Plumtree or "Web Parts" by Microsoft.

SC Usage: Plumtree, the supplier of the SC Intranet Portal, in Feb. 2001 announced the availability of the Plumtree Web Parts Adapter, a component framework technology that allows the use of Microsoft Web Parts and Plumtree Portal Gadgets within the Plumtree Corporate Portal. Plumtree Portal Gadgets integrate services from Internet sites and enterprise applications from vendors such as SAP AG, Siebel Systems Inc., PeopleSoft Inc., Cognos Inc., FileNET Corp. USA, IBM Corp., Lotus Development Corp. and many others. Microsoft Web Parts are reusable components that deliver Web-based content within the Microsoft Sharepoint server (previously the "Digital Dashboard"). The Plumtree Web Parts Adapter makes available to customers and business partners the combined library of application-integration and content-delivery components from Plumtree and Microsoft. This is good news for SC; it means that the selection of Plumtree was right and will continue to be viable.

SC Application Impacts: Plumtree is to be used as the portal for all future SC business applications. Components must therefore comply with the Plumtree gadget/Web Parts standard in order to maintain this architecture.

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