Integrated Toolkit for Highly Advanced Computer Applications

ITHACA-1 - 2121

Keywords application generators, object-oriented programming

Start Date: 09-JAN-89 / Duration: 12 months

[ contact / participants ]

Objectives and Approach

The aim of the ITHACA project was to develop an integrated application support system based on the object-oriented programming approach. Object-oriented systems of the type envisaged incorporate a wide range of features (such as data encapsulation, data abstraction and inheritance) which guarantee a high application quality and ensure reusability on a large scale. In addition to the advantages to be gained from this approach, the use of existing and foreseeable standards will play a decisive role, offering numerous benefits for all parties involved in the application development process.

The underlying objective is to create a platform that will enable a wide range of applications to be developed quickly, reliably and at low cost. This approach is reflected to some degree in a number of developments today, but as a result of its innovative nature and the leading-edge methods involved has yet to gain a firm foothold in the market.

The system will consists of the following components:

The object-oriented kernel will incorporate the programming language, the compiler, run-time support features for the objects, and the integrated database support facility. The software base will be geared specifically to the respective applications and will be upgraded as new applications are perfected. It will incorporate a generic office model for reuse by other applications and will be based on an integrated and distributed multimedia environment.

The applications development environment will consist of a set of tools aimed at aiding the application programmer in specifying requirements and in modelling the application under development. Particular consideration will be given to providing support for an object-oriented life-cycle geared towards streamlining the configuration process called for by the applications. In addition, the application development tools will provide assistance when designing the objects specified by the respective applications and when selecting pertinent objects from the current software base; they will support the development of any new objects required, and will prove helpful in the individual configuration phases. The application support environment will provide application users with an advanced user interface, an activity coordination facility, and a management system.

Two procedures will be employed to validate the environment. Firstly, a bootstrap technique will be used to develop the entire system in a single unique language, with the aim of proving that the environment is suitable for system programming. Secondly, several applications will be developed to illustrate the usefulness of the environment for the applications development.

Unlike other developments on the market, ITHACA is not aimed at creating niche applications geared wholly for use in dedicated environments. Rather, the focus is on achieving a high level of openness on an object-oriented level with the aim of providing comprehensive support for object-oriented software development methods.

The partners involved in the project are established, competent and experienced computer manufacturers, software houses, users and reputable academic institutions. As founding members of the Open Software Foundation (OSF), Nixdorf and Bull foresee a high level of integration of the project results into the activities of this organisation, thus guaranteeing that standards - a vital concept in view of the demand for openness and reusability in the field of information technology as a whole - are laid down and implemented to the greatest possible extent.

The work begun in ITHACA-1 continues in project 2705, ITHACA-2.


Ms Anna-Kristin Pröfrock
Sietec Systemtechnik Gmbh & Co OHG
Nonnendammallee 101
D - 13629 BERLIN
tel: + 49/ 30-386-29908
fax: + 49/ 30-386-29004


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ITHACA-1 - 2121, December 1993

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html version of synopsis by Nick Cook