Java Reference
In-Depth Information
A Perspective Change
This section discusses the additional evolution of today's deployment techniques. These topics
are neither science fiction nor ready-to-use advice, but nevertheless are concepts worth
Sun proposed the Sun One initiative at the beginning of 2001 as a counter-offensive to the
competitor .NET platform from Microsoft. Of course, deployment of Java software can be seen
as a Web service itself, and we will see in Chapter 2 how an abstract model can assist in this
aspect. Of course, the net-centric perspective of the Java platform could be easily exploited
when deploying software to remote clients. Only time will tell how deployment will fit into
this new perspective, but the growing support for the JNLP protocol is promising.
Abstracting the Software Experience
The entire deployment issue has enormous potential to shift the current idea of software to a
new level.
An effective deployment can improve overall software quality. In scenarios where executables
are downloaded, installed, and managed seamlessly from the Net without requiring the average
user to ever be aware of the physical files currently involved, the perceived feeling of the soft-
ware experience itself changes.
When continuous upgrades are possible and painless (thanks to wider distribution channels and
more effective deployment technologies) the software itself is seen as more of an abstract ser-
vice rather than a bundle of files currently running on your local device. This process of
abstraction is common across all the technologies as they evolve over time. This trend will
affect software as well. Consumer applications will possibly become more abstract and more
dynamic, with logos, splash screens, and GUIs naturally evolving over time, much like the
wrapper of our favorite snack. The brand- and the user-perceived experience will become more
important. This, among other things, will increase the advantage of first-comers into new and
old markets. When software could be easily updateable, the difference will be the brand, or
other factors. This is something that will have a large impact on marketing, other than the way
software will be designed and produced. Today's software marketers try to lure users in rather
rough ways such as bothering them with pop-up dialogs with big “Register Now” buttons,
whereas very few realize the power that deployment techniques can have on the diffusion of
their software.
A General Definition of Software Deployment
The lifecycle proposed in Figure 1.1 is not realistic when it comes to the details of today's
software deployment technology. We will now introduce a useful abstraction, general to all
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