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Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

Editorial Pointers


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When considering this month's special section on component-based enterprise frameworks, I was reminded of the photomosaic works of Robert Silvers. You've probably seen many examples of this artist's work in recent years. He specializes in conjoining and layering hundreds of small images to form a totally different, yet recognizable, image. Indeed, the April 1998 cover of Communications featured one of Silvers' most popular works. He assembled hundreds of tiny photos, each frame depicting a particular scene of nature or wildlife. But when positioned together into specific layers of color and patterns, those pictures turned into a world-renowned imageGrant Woods' American Gothic.

This section was created in a similar fashion, with each article a single component representing a layer of the big picture. Yet, when coupled with adjoining articles, each forms a greater image of more lasting value. Guest editor Grant Larson, working with Managing Editor Tom Lambert, has designed a section that illustrates how to model, build, extend, use, and apply frameworks in a variety of situations. Tracing the component motif, the section begins with an overview of components that provides a strong reference foundation and is topped with experiences with real-world applications and implementations.

Object-oriented tools and techniques also dominate the discussion throughout our feature articles. Richard Johnson details the advantages of OO system development as seen through the eyes of two different groups: developers with experience using OOSD in real-world projects and those with no such experience. Bhattacharjee and Ramesh introduce a generic OO framework that aids corporate IT management and OO system developers designing an enterprise's complex business computing environ. And Agarwal et al. consider the usability factor as it pertains to system developers by comparing various aspects of process-oriented and OO approaches.

In other news, Garland Brown et al. found much to be gained from the Y2K experience. While many of their peers may recall those days as a bad dream, the authors contend that IT systems have substantially improved and benefited from rollover efforts.

Our columnists this month debate common business practices with their typical fervor. In his second installment of "The Business of Software," Phillip Armour insists that building software is pretty easy; building software that works is not. Indeed, building software that works requires knowing what to build. And the first step in that process is addressing what he calls the "Five Orders of Ignorance." In "Viewpoint," Ronald and Sipper revisit the argument over machine intelligence, this time armed with a "Turing Chatterbox." And Brock Meeks, ever the crusader for privacy and anonymity in our digital world, prepares for life as a data outlaw on the "Electronic Frontier." It's a move inspired by pioneer outlaw, Max Headroom.

Diane Crawford,
Editor


©2000 ACM  0002-0782/00/1000  $5.00

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