New Tools, New Choices

Java or .Net? Which tools for Web services? Here's a guide for making those big decisions.

You have some unusually big, bet-your-career decisions to make regarding software development these days. Do you migrate to Microsoft's new .Net environment, or move to Java 2 Enterprise Edition? Or, if you'll inevitably have a mix of both, what should that mix look like?

The emergence of Web services as The Next Big Thing has also given IT managers a lot to think about. Vendors (and some publications) are touting Web services as an IT panacea and a paradigm-shifter.

But Computerworld approaches this much-hyped topic with a healthy dose of skepticism: Some of our earliest stories on Web services warned of security and reliability problems . Indeed, using the words security and Web services in the same sentence can cause laughing fits in the newsroom.

On the other hand, we know that pioneering users, such as CitiMortgage, a division of financial services giant Citigroup, are making a major commitment to Web services because of the benefits of reusable software components. The benefit for CitiMortgage is about 6,000 hours of programmer time saved each year.

As it turns out, security for Web services (OK, I'm holding back the giggles) isn't a black-and-white issue. As Robert L. Scheier explains in his article (page 40), some companies are plunging into Web services anyway because the information at risk just isn't very sensitive and the benefits are so great. Current security protocols are "good enough" for these applications.

It's a great example of how conventional wisdom can be wrong, or at least too simplistic, because businesses and IT environments vary a lot. That's why we keep interviewing IT managers: to learn what really works in a variety of business settings, because sometimes we hear surprising things.

And then we share those findings with you, in special reports like this, to help you make those big decisions.

Mitch Betts ( is director of Computerworld's Knowledge Centers.

Special Report

New Tools, New Choices

Stories in this report:

Copyright © 2002 IDG Communications, Inc.

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