Object Technology: A Manager's Guide / Edition 2

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"The first edition set a standard of excellence that has eluded all followers, and I have recommended it to my clients for years. The new edition is a gift to the field and should be required reading for all managers."
- Adrian J. Bowles, Ph.D., Vice President Giga Information Group

"One of the most readable introductions you will find. The new edition offers vital insights into the effective use of objects in business."
- Chris Stone, President Object Management Group

The first edition of Object Technology: A Manager's Guide is widely viewed as the classic introduction to this powerful computing concept. Object technology offers increased agility, significant time-to-market reduction, and the opportunity to exploit the potential of the World Wide Web by deploying globally distributed business systems. At a time when many of the world's largest companies are making the transition to object technology, David Taylor has updated his book to address the important issues facing the growth of object technology and to provide a glimpse into the future of this evolving paradigm. In updating this seminal work, David Taylor has retained the signature conciseness and,clarity of discussion that made the first edition a best-seller.

Object Technology: A Manager's Guide, Second Edition, covers the key terms, emerging concepts, and useful applications of objects. Managers, salespeople, engineers, software developers-anyone interested in understanding or implementing object technology-will find this a lucid introduction to the topic.

Highlights of this new edition include:

  • An explanation of how to use objects to create evolutionarysoftware that rapidly adapts to changing business conditions,eliminating the need for most new application development.
  • An introduction to Java, and an explanation of how its useof message interfaces enables a new generation of portable, mix-and-match, Internet-enabled business objects.
  • An update on the state of object databases and extended relationaldatabases, with guidelines for combining the two for optimal informationstorage.
  • An introduction to the new generation of object engines andhow they combine storage and execution capabilities for maximumsoftware integration.


The first edition of this publication has been the classic introduction to object technology formanagers and executives for a number of years, and has been used worldwide in management related seminars, courses andworkshops. This revised and expanded version maintains the same focus on the benefits to businesscomputing wrought by this powerful object-oriented technology. The book covers object technology within the context of "...enabling technology for a new generation of adaptive software systems ...", and presents an executive overview of key characteristics that define object-orientation. In a clear and concise manner, it presents the underlying principles within the context of flexible business systems, and explains the nature of object interactions, examines classes, inheritance and other properties that turn objects into reusable business components. Learn about data sharing across programs, and find out about database requirements needed to implement object-orientation. The book also examines distributed objects, agents, tools and techniques required for scalable and adaptive business enterprises. Emphasis is on "The Adaptive Organization", and make no mistake, organizations will adapt to the new business paradigm ofobject-orientated technology and the Web, or pass into history.A very good and recommended companion volume by Dr. Taylor is, Business Engineering with Object Technology.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780201309942
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley
  • Publication date: 9/5/1997
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 7.03 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

An internationally recognized authority on object technology, Dr. David A. Taylor has written numerous articles on business and technology, given keynote speeches at conferences, and served as the voice of authority for some of the world¿s leading companies. He is the author four books and coauthor of two others, including the acclaimed Object Technology, Second Edition: A Manager¿s Guide, (Addison-Wesley, 1998). Before founding Enterprise Engines, Inc., a company that develops supply-chain software, Dr. Taylor worked as a consultant helping Fortune 500 companies adopt object technology.


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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Three Keys to Object Technology

This chapter begins with what I view as the best possible motivation for adopting object technology-the fact that it is the enabling technology for a new generation of adaptive software systems that can make your company more competitive. The remainder of the chapter is an executive overview of the three key characteristics of object technology: objects, messages, and classes. These characteristics are described only in summary form here. The following three chapters provide a more in-depth examination of each.

Why Objects?

The chasm between conventional software development and true, object- oriented development is not easily crossed. A company really has to want to be on the other side in order to make the leap successfully. So, it's only fair to begin with the most basic question: Why bother? The answer, in a nutshell, is this: Objects are the enabling technology for adaptive business systems.

The Adaptive Organization

Natural selection, the engine of adaptation in all living systems, has just shifted into high gear. it is now operating at the level of organizations rather than organisms, and the cycle of adaptations is measured in months rather than millennia. The competitive environment of business is continuously changing, and the pace of that change is increasing at an accelerating rate. Where it was once possible for a company to stake out its marketing turf and defend its position for years, static positioning is now viable only in a few isolated industries. For most companies today, the only constant is change.

How is a company to cope with this kind of change? The message from the management gurus is clear and consistent: The key to survival in today's chaotic business environment is rapid adaption. The adaptive organization can move quickly into new market niches, deliver custom solutions instead of fixed products, and continuously outmaneuver its competition in the ongoing battle for market share.

Unfortunately, it's a lot easier to preach the benefits of adaptivity than to realize them. Organizations have a natural inertia that inhibits any change in direction, and that inertia increases with the mass of the company. Much of the resistance stems from human nature-people stake out their turf within organizations and tend to oppose any change that threatens their position. Reward structures keyed to quarterly earnings only serve to reinforce the status quo and discourage rapid change. But even if all the human and organizational barriers to change could be overcome, there is another source of inertia with a mass approximating that of a black hole- namely, corporate information systems.

From Productivity to Adaptivity

The software construction primer in the appendix offers a quick overview of the way we build information systems and how that approach has evolved over the past 50 years. Although information systems now allow organizations to do things that would have been unthinkable prior to the advent of computers, there is one thing they hinder far more than help: the process of change. Large information systems are notoriously resistant to change, so much so that many companies find themselves locked in place by the very systems that helped them to become competitive just a few short years ago.

For many years, the standard answer to this problem was to increase the speed of software development. Fourth -generation languages (4GLs), computer-aided software engineering (CASE) tools, and yes, object technology, have all promised and failed to deliver the "order- of - magnitude productivity improvement" that has long served as the holy grail of software development. Although I remain convinced that objects can deliver on that promise, I no longer believe it is the right goal. We have passed the point where building new applications faster can solve the problem. No matter how much we accelerate the development process, the increasing pace of business change will continue to outstrip our ability to create new software.

The only enduring solution to the challenge of constant change lies in the development of adaptive business systems-systems that can change at least as fast as the organizations they support. This is a radical departure from the time-honored practice of developing new applications from scratch to meet new business requirements. It requires us to construct software systems of sufficient flexibility that they can quickly be modified in response to new opportunities and challenges. In short, the answer lies not in productivity but in adaptivity.

The Enabling Technology

The key benefit of object technology is that it is the enabling technology for adaptive business systems. However, this adaptivity is not an automatic consequence of adopting objects. Many companies are using objects simply as a different tool for doing what they have always done-creating new applications to solve specific business problems. Objects themselves are naturally adaptive units of software, but they lose all their flexibility if they are locked into conventional applications.

The key to building adaptive systems is to understand and uphold the principles of object technology at every level of a system, from the lowest- level object to the enterprise itself. Fortunately, this isn't very hard to do. The most difficult part is simply getting out of the way-setting aside our preconceptions of how software should be built and discovering where objects will take us if we remain true to their principles as we build our way up to the enterprise.

The purpose of this book is twofold: to provide a firm grounding in the principles of object technology and to explore the future of adaptive systems that objects make possible. This chapter provides an executive summary of the principles to make them as accessible as possible. Later chapters deepen your understanding of these principles and then begin the process of scaling objects up to the enterprise.

The Three Keys The definition of object technology has been a source of debate throughout its history. However, there is an industry- standard definition of object-oriented technology, and it can be summarized in terms of three key concepts:

  1. Objects that provide encapsulation of procedures and data
  2. Messages that support polymorphism across objects
  3. Classes that implement inheritance within class hierarchies
These three concepts and their associated terminology are explained in the remaining sections of this chapter. But even without further explanation, the three concepts can be used to make a distinction between languages that are and are not object-oriented. There are many object-oriented languages on the market today. identifying a few may help you put the discussion of basic principles in a commercial context. The object languages that are most widely used in commercial applications are Smalltalk, C++, and Java. Eiffel has gained widespread acceptance in Europe; the latest version of Ada qualifies as object- oriented; and Object COBOL is finally making its way into the market. Of all the object languages currently available, Java is having the greatest impact on the industry and shows the most promise for building adaptive business systems.

By contrast, the original versions of C, Ada, and COBOL are anything but object-oriented. Closer to the border are languages like Visual Basic (VB), which began as a conventional language but now supports most of the mechanisms of object technology. As you can see from the examples, many languages are adding object features, so the list of options is constantly growing. Visual Basic is a good illustration of this-all that version 5 lacks is inheritance, and VB could very well be fully object-oriented in its next release. The important point is not whether a language is "truly" object-oriented but how easy it is to apply the principles of objects in the environment provided by the language....

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Table of Contents



Who Should Read This Book.

How to Read the Book.

What’s New in This Edition.

An Invitation to Interact.

1. Three Keys to Object Technology.

Why Objects?

Objects and Encapsulation.

Messages and Polymorphism.

Classes and Inheritance.

2. Objects: Natural Building Blocks.

Nature’s Building Blocks.

The Anatomy of an Object.

Constructing Composite Objects.

Designing Multilevel Systems.

3. Messages: Activating Objects.

The Anatomy of a Message.

Sending the Right Information.

The Power of Polymorphis.

4. Classes: Implementing Objects.

The Anatomy of a Class.

Defining Variables.

Specialization Hierarchies.

5. Objects as Software Components.

A New Industrial Revolution.

Making Software Components Work.

Building the Right Components.

6. Storing and Sharing Objects.

The Problem of Persistence.

A New Generation of Databases.

The Battle of the Generations.

7. Beyond Programs and Databases.

Integrating Procedures and Data.

The Evolution of Object Engines.

The End of Applications.

8. Objects for the Enterprise.

Distributing Objects.

From Objects to Agents.

Designing for Scalability.

9. The Adaptive Organization.

Understanding Adaptive Systems.

Increasing Organizational Adaptivity.

Adaptivity Through Objects.

Appendix: A Software Construction Primer.

Suggested Readings.


Index. 0201309947T04062001

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2002

    Over-emphasizes Hierarchies

    The author presents and illustrates his points rather well in this book. However, he is over-selling certain concepts and philosophies as the be-all-solve-all; in particular, trees and nesting of application nouns (objects). Although trees and nesting are intuitive, they don't always map to the real world very well. A relational expert will point out that trees and nesting are only one of many possible simultaneous views of any given thing. Taylor presents an absolute viewpoint, suggesting that trees and nesting ALONE are a sufficient view of any given object. OOP (object oriented programming) tends to get rather complicated and competes with relational turf when it tries to give each object (record) multiple, relative, or ad-hoc views and relationships. A relational proponent may suggest that it is best not to manage all these relationships via programming code, since databases are better geared toward bulk cross-link management of "things". Further, Taylor's prediction that OO databases would trample relational databases has proven incorrect so far. OO databases have suffered huge commercial set-backs, and he offers insufficient information on how to handle OO in a relational world. Some OO proponents, such as Bertrand Meyer, have even suggested that the philosophy of OOP and "databases" in general is in conflict. Overall, this book may serve as a decent conceptual introduction, but it leaves out some important and tough philosophical rough spots that OO faces. I would suggest that one also read up on relational modeling to balance out the weak points of this book.

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