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Preface - Pg. xi

xi Preface Software engineering is entering a new era. The Internet and its associated technologies are chang- ing the way customers, suppliers, and companies interact to conduct business, communicate, and collaborate. The result is the creation of huge opportunities to expand existing businesses, the delivery of greater variety and depth of information in a timely manner to those who need it wherever they need it, and the rise of completely new forms of commerce unthinkable without the business and technology advances fostered by the onset of the Internet age. As succinctly stated by the U.S. Commerce Secretary William Daley: "Technology is reshaping this economy and transforming businesses and consumers. This is more than e-commerce, or e-mail, or e-trades, or e-files. It's about the 'e' in economic opportunity." This impact has been confirmed in a recent study conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) of Booz-Allen & Hamilton. 1 They surveyed the opinions of more than 500 senior executives with respect to how the Internet is changing their corporate strategy. The results showed that more than 90 percent believed that the Internet will transform or have a major impact on their corporate strategy within the next three years. Furthermore, many of these executives recognized the need to restructure their businesses to take advantage of fundamental changes in their business envi- ronment. However, with these changes come a number of threats. Many organizations are intimidated by the new technologies, unsure of how to take advantage of them, and wondering how these technologies will align with existing investments in skills and infrastructures. What they require is a conceptual framework for understanding software solutions in the Internet age, coupled with a realistic view of the technologies that will drive this revolution. Componensts and Component-Based Development (CBD) are the approaches that satisfy these needs. More and more we see organizations turning to components as a way to encapsulate existing functionality, acquire third-party solutions, and build new services to support emerging business processes. The latest technologies for distributed systems support and encourage a component view of application integration and deployment. Furthermore, component-based development pro- vides a design paradigm well suited to today's eclectic Internet-centric software solutions. This book examines components and component-based development, and their role in provisioning enter- prise-scale solutions for the Internet age. The Origins and Role of Component-Based Development At its root, component-based development (CBD) is application development primarily carried out by composing previously developed software. Many people in the software industry are beginning to see CBD as an exciting new approach to application development which offers the promise of reducing cycle time for software development, and improving the quality of delivered applications. 1 C.V. Callahan and B.A. Pasternack, Corporate Strategy in the Internet Age, Booz-Allen & Hamilton, June 1999.