There can surely be no doubt now that Hewlett-Packard Co’s language-based approach to creating an object request broker will prevail – the NCR Corp-Object Design Inc submission has joined forces with the Hewlett-Packard-Sun Microsystems Inc Distributed Object Management Facility. Fast and furious negotiations have been going on over the past few days as NCR has […]
There can surely be no doubt now that Hewlett-Packard Co’s language-based approach to creating an object request broker will prevail – the NCR Corp-Object Design Inc submission has joined forces with the Hewlett-Packard-Sun Microsystems Inc Distributed Object Management Facility. Fast and furious negotiations have been going on over the past few days as NCR has been evaluating what it stands to lose or gain by joining the HyperDEC submission and opposing the Distributed Object Management Facility. HyperDesk Inc’s Joe Forgione said that in the end the differences between Digital Equipment Corp’s Application Control Architecture and the NCR-Object Design submission were too great to move together quickly. Furthermore, NCR’s business interests via its licensing of NewWave clearly pointed in the Hewlett-Packard direction. The main architectural difference between the two remaining submissions for the object request broker is that HyperDEC takes an application programming interface approach to the object request broker whereas the Hewlett-Packard-Sun submission uses its Class Definition Language as a common compiler for implementing different object classes. The NCR-Object Design and Hewlett-Packard-Sun technologies will be combined by taking the Distributed Object Manager Facility architecture apart and giving different technical teams responsibility for the different object classes. The architecture will basically be split into three parts: source code program language access for C++, the handling of small, local transient objects, and the handling of meta data for the database – the last being the layer of software that lies between the database and different remote procedure calls.
Tom Atwood, president of Object Design, believes that this low-level interface directly handling communication between the application and the remote procedure call makes the Distributed Object Management Facility much easier for database vendors to work with than opposing technology. Sources within the Object Management Group community believe that the Distributed Object Management Facility is now so strong a submission that HyperDEC must either stand the embarrassment of losing or join its technology to the Distributed Object Management Facility. Forgione believes that there are benefits to both the Facility and the Application Control Architecture and that software developers and independent software vendors could end up using parts of both technologies. However, all those with technology in the ring now seem to be keen to bring the two architectural approaches together to provide interoperable applications. Recommendations for the technology will be given to the Object Management Group’s Technical Committee at the Object World Conference in San Francisco at the beginning of June. If all remaining submissions can be pulled together this would be quite a feat both from the technological and the political viewpoints for the Object Management Group. Nevertheless, even if the Group was able to pull all these rival vendors together, both IBM Corp and Microsoft Corp have yet to weigh into the fray. Nobody is sure what Microsoft is up to although it seems most likely that it will throw itself in with DEC, but Sun, Hewlett-Packard, NCR and Object Design are definitely courting IBM. Any party interested in watching some of this courtship ritual should turn up at Comdex in Atlanta, Georgia this week where NCR and Object Design will be showing a distributed personal-computer-based object database using the DOMF object request broker protocol for handling remote procedure calls running on Windows, which NCR intends to put up under OS/2. – Katy Ring