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03/07/2005

Software's Top 10 2005 Trends: #8 Composite Applications

Software applications are gradually getting pulled apart thanks to greater bandwidth, lower latency, open standards and generic interfaces.  Composite applications represent the logical end of this current evolution.

While the term “composite application” has rapidly become a kind of marketing catch-all term for any kind of next generation EAI or web service technology, the most straight forward definition of composite applications is that they are applications created by loosely coupling several different services and data stores via standardized message layers.  Theoretically, the component parts of a composite application can be mixed and matched, much like lego blocks, allowing developers to create an wide variety of applications with a relatively small set of services.

To some extent, composite applications attempt to finally fulfill the promise of re-useable components, but do so at a much higher “service” layer.  Given all of the failed promises of the component “revolution”, there is a lot of justified skepticism that composite applications will be able to fulfill much of their hype, however web-based composite applications clearly have significant potential.

The key question then is whether composite applications will be limited to a small set of “super services”, ones that simply combine and/or repurpose a set of high level web services, or if composite application architectures will be practical for highly granular enterprise applications that must incorporate a wide variety of highly specialized services.

2005 should see increasing awareness and adoption of the concept and potential of composite applications, however actual implementation should lag as companies have yet to implement many of the web services and messaging infrastructure improvements that must be in place before composite applications can become a reality.

For a complete list of Software's Top 10 2005 trends click here.

March 7, 2005 in Middleware | Permalink

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