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If you love new technologies, the last few years have been a thrill ride: Web services, XML, service oriented architectures (SOA), business process management (BPM), and more. Anyone interested in technology has more than enough to chew on -- especially when you combine the variety of new products and technologies with the dramatic changes in business cycles and requirements. In fact, todays business managers have to respond to business change in minutes, hours, or days, compared to the months or even years that yesterdays business managers had.

Keeping up with new technologies is difficult enough if youre an enterprise organization, but it can be doubly difficult if youre a software vendor. Its not easy for software companies to evolve their products to embrace new technologies while keeping their current customers committed and satisfied -- especially when youre talking about development tools. No doubt, developers and development organizations can get fiercely protective of their chosen development tools, but over the past five years, most development organizations have rapidly moved from one tool to the next as the industry cycled through application servers, XML, Web services, service oriented architectures, and other technologies. Competitive new point products have appeared for each area, enabling organizations to develop applications that they couldnt before, and often forcing them to push previously used tools to the sidelines.

Nowhere is this probably more apparent than in the old area of client/server development tools. For a period that stretched from the mid-1990s through approximately the early 2000s (for the laggards), many large organizations were committed to the development of client/server applications. At the time, there was an Internet-like rush, as dozens of competing advanced client/server development tools vied for leadership in the market for the development of complex, distributed applications.

Of course, the Internet and the Web came along (as well as application servers, Java, and J2EE) and re-aligned the world just a little bit (well, okay, they blew away the world) for the fifty or so companies that had staked their claim on distributed applications. This is the point in the movie version of the story where the camera would pan along the streets of Distributed Client/Server Town, capturing a long train of Internet wagons taking the settlers off to a better place, with dust swirls and tumbleweeds rolling in behind to lay waste to the deserted town.


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