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IBM opens Sash for web applications

IBM opens Sash for web applications

Thursday, August 31, 2000

UK – Network News
Publication: Network News
Journalist: Liesbeth Evers


Resources: Tool could allow network managers to bypass shortage of Java skills for web development

IBM has released Sash Weblications for Linux, a web applications tool that could help network managers get around the shortage of Java skills by allowing web designers with only basic programming knowledge to develop and build web applications.

John Patrick, vice president of internet technology at IBM, said at the recent developers conference in La Vegas that there is a pyramid of Java developers, where a small group of very skilled people form the top, a group of programmers with average skills form the middle and an extensive group forms the bottom.

Patrick said: “The people in this group at the bottom of the pyramid do not see themselves as programmers. They consider themselves as web page designers, but would like to do more. Sash allows them to interpret the Java script from the natural environment of a desktop.”

IBM knows the reality of the skills shortage as well as the next company and to get this tool developed, it had to seek the help from university whizzkids. In a project called Extreme Blue 2000, it rounded up 40 computer science students from across the US and set them to work on developers’ tasks during the summer.

Students Kevin Gibbs and John Corwick were part of the team of seven that rewrote the Windows version of Sash Weblications to operate on Linux in no more than 10 weeks. They said that the project was fun and that it gave them an opportunity to gain some programming experience in a commercial environment.

“We had to start from scratch with sash for Linux because we didn’t want it to look like a native Microsoft product, ” said Corwick.

“It’s really cool – you type in half a command and the tool completes it for you,” added Gibbs.

The easy-to-use interface does raise security issues because it opens application development to all, including those who might enjoy tucking viruses in programme codes.

To protect against this, the Sash Weblication Manager provides verification tools to state the content and effect of created programmes. It also lets users choose to block any Weblication’s access to selected system resources.