In 2001, I worked in a telecomunication company as a Senior
System Analyst, I was assigned a task to build a new billing system. For
telecommunication environment, Unix is dominant in back-end servers.
However, the front-end environment is dominant by MS-Windows platform. It
is not a difficult task for Web-based project to stick two environment
together, but Web-based front end is too simple to create complicated
information-boost fron-end web pages. Traditionally, telecom users don't
want to jump from a front-end page to another front-end pages, they just want
to grap all the information on a single page only.
Rich Client can fulfil this task, but it is not easy for MS-Windows
environment to connect to the Unix platform. At that time, pure Java GUI
is one of the choice, but it is quite slow in performance, not suitable
for low-end PC machine. A PC must equip with more than 200M bytes RAM to
run a full-metal Java front-end. It costs too much for the
company to upgrade all PC machines to this level. It is better to create
front-end programs in native codes in order to get the best performance.
Visual Basic, Delphi and Powerbuilder are good candidates, but no one can
provide the acceptable connectivity solution for Unix . Writing
socket program is another choice, but handling data packet is painful for all
programmers. Another headache is that the top management decided to
use Java EJB servers in the back-end Unix machines. How MS-Windows
native front-end doesn't have any existing method to connect to EJB
servers (more) ...
Corba is the outstanding choice for this task.
Although web/SOAP technology is promoted to replace all the existing distributed
computing architecture, but it is too young in this stage. I don't see
SOAP will be equiped with the power equivalent to that provided from