Elpub buttonEl.pub Analytic Issue Number 2

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El.pub Analytic No. 2
"XML, .NET and distributed applications"

Page 4

Contents: Introduction of .NET | XML joins the fun | Too many tag sets? Too much data? | ASP and peer-to-peer too | Does it all stand up?

ASP and peer-to-peer too

Two other recent ideas that have been floated in relation to the future of IT are application service provision (ASP) and peer-to-peer applications. ASP is already rapidly growing. The idea that users access applications when they need them, rather than owning their own copies, and buy the access as a service, is certainly part of the .NET plan. One can see that a number of current IT management problems might go away if ASP became widespread.

Version control would to a considerable extent disappear, if users accessed application code from a small number of centrally managed sites. All users would have access to the applications used to create particular image formats for example and that particular interoperability problem would be reduced. Problems of software piracy would be eliminated if usage prices were sufficiently low. On the other hand, problems of different user interface conventions would be exacerbated if the application was chosen by the data format and not by the user.

Peer-to-peer computing is a very different view of the world and is not mentioned in the .NET presentation. Gnutella, SETI@HOME and similar programmes are designed to provide shared resources between users without the need for central servers. They can be seen as overlaying the Internet with dynamic private LANs that are created for specific applications. Intel see these as an important element in the future of computing, as set out at the recent Intel Developers Forum.

A possible development, not so far put forward (at least in papers I have seen), is to combine peer-to-peer with virtual private network software to provide a secure framework for closed user group operation. VPN is already embedded in the NT OS and thus freely available for peer-to-peer developers within the Windows framework.

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