Installed in its Mountain View, California headquarters, Neuron Data Inc has turned to Modulus Technologies Inc, Houston, Texas to propel it towards its latest incarnation as a distributed enterprise application development house. It is a world already populated by the likes of Forte Software Inc, Dynasty Technologies Inc, Texas Instruments Inc, Progress Software Corp and […]
Installed in its Mountain View, California headquarters, Neuron Data Inc has turned to Modulus Technologies Inc, Houston, Texas to propel it towards its latest incarnation as a distributed enterprise application development house. It is a world already populated by the likes of Forte Software Inc, Dynasty Technologies Inc, Texas Instruments Inc, Progress Software Corp and Uniface BV, with others leaping aboard by the day. Neuron knows that it is a late-comer, but claims that Modulus’s protocol-independent software router, a distributed messaging technology anchored to the heart of its Elements Environment development packages, is better than other techniques. After an 18-month, 10-stop tour of potential middleware providers, the Californian arrived at the Texan’s door and licensed the latter’s software router as part of an exclusive relationship that the two are considering expanding. Neuron Data re-fashioned the software to suit its requirements and is positioning the mechanism as a tier-less, multi-point and multi-network component delivering its application development and interface building tools into the distributed system world. It describes the Distributed Communications module as a message-based IPC Inter-Process Communication abstraction that creates routing processes on the node.
It touts its natively multi-point architecture and non-directed messaging that apparently enables developers to write multi-process communications programs without having to specify point-to-point addresses and systems in the code. It supports on-the-fly, or dynamic configuration, of distributed applications by having developers write Inter Process Communication code based on data object types, rather than static addresses. The company doesn’t have – nor does it envisage offering – the kind of graphical tool that is featured in other environments, which enables the developer to drag and drop parts of an application on to different nodes for processing. But it will offer a graphical manager as an add-on by the end of the year. Distributed Communications enables connection patterns to be changed while the application is running via application programming interfaces and is said to eliminate the need to recompile the original application all over again; only the piece that is moved has be recompiled on the node. It said each application component – graphical user interface, data rules, application logic – can now be partitioned and dynamically reconfigured via a tier-less architecture. It describes the component – which supports TCP/IP, NetWare, Serial Line Internet Protocol-Point-to-Point Protocol and other protocols – as a network optimiser that delivers an advanced publish and subscribe mechanism requiring no central repository because individual routers describe the addresses. The company plans gateways to Distributed Computing Environment and Common Object Request Broker Architecture systems – it will describe a complete set of object technologies and integration plans within 60 days – and thinks even the Common Object Request Broker Architecture crowd may eventually move over to a software routing system over time. Using the messaging technology and customised tool kits developed with Modulus, Neuron Data has created distributed versions of its existing Open Interface, Smart Elements and C/S Elements software development packages, all now housed under the company’s Elements Environment umbrella. The packages deploy a mixture of user interface technologies, data access and business rules modules, portability layers, drivers, editors and debuggers. Available st and-alone, or bundled with the packages, the Distributed Communications component starts at $7,500 per development licence for Unix, NT, OS/2, Mac and Windows. There are no runtime fees. The 10-year-old, $28m-a-year firm, with 155 employees, began life as an expert systems house peddling the Nexpert system, which it still has on its books but expects to re-cast in the near future. In the late 1980s and early 1990s it created techno
logy for adding multiple user interfaces to applications.