Integrated Toolkit for Highly Advanced Computer Applications


ITHACA-2 - 2705

Keywords application generators, object-oriented programming


Start Date: 09-JAN-90 / Duration: 36 months

[ contact / participants ]


Objectives and Approach

The aim of the ITHACA project is to develop an integrated application support system based on the object-oriented programming approach. The system envisaged will incorporate a wide range of features designed to:

In addition to the benefits to be gained from the object-oriented approach, the use of existing and emerging standards will play a decisive role in this context.

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

The system will consist of the following components:

The system will comprise a persistent, object-oriented programming language, a fully integrated structurally object-oriented database system, as well as a runtime system geared to this. The system kernel is designed in such a way that it will be capable of integrating both object-oriented programming languages and procedural languages. A particularly innovative feature of the kernel is the concept of persistency. This enables objects to be stored permanently, a feature which other object-oriented languages have as yet failed to provide. In addition, application developers will be provided with an easy-to-use filtering and browsing system, a high level, interactive multi-language debugger, a configuration tool and a graphical user interface.

The object-oriented software information base will be used to store software information which constitutes the basic building blocks with which the developer works. It will cooperate closely with the tools of the application development environment. Particular consideration will be given to providing support for an object-oriented life-cycle and methodology geared towards streamlining the configuration process called for by the applications.

The information stored in the software information base will be organised in the form of generic application frames and will be selected interactively with the aid of a selection tool. During the early development phase, the programmer will also be supported by a requirement collection and specification tool which, together with detailed user specifications, will serve to specialise the generic frames to produce specific application frames. The software components selected will be customised by means of a combination of programming and scripting. A visual scripting tool will be used to graphically connect visual representations of objects and to interactively construct the applications.

The application support environment will provide application users with an advanced user interface, an activity coordination facility and a management system in order to offer assistance in modelling cooperative task solutions.

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, the aim of this being to prove that the environment is suitable for system programming. Secondly, several sample applications, which include a generic office model for use in a wide range of application scenarios, will be developed to illustrate the usefulness of the environment for application development.

Exploitation

Unlike other developments on the market, ITHACA is not aimed at creating niche applications geared wholly to 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 project consortium includes members of the Open Software Foundation (OSF) and the Object Management Group (OMG). As a result, a high level of integration of the project results into the activities of these organisations can be expected, thus guaranteeing that standards - a vital conception view of the demand for openness and reusability in the field of information technology as a whole - are laid down and implemented to the largest possible extent.

An evaluation license agreement is available for the object-oriented system kernel (Cool SPE) to allow interested parties to appraise the ITHACA technology at their respective sites.


CONTACT POINT

Ms Anna-Kristin Pröfrock
Sietec Systemtechnik
Nonnendammallee 101
D - 13629 BERLIN
tel: + 49/ 30-386 29908
fax: + 49/ 30-386 29004
telex: 185648 NXD

Participants

SNI AG - D - C
BULL SA - F - P
DATAMONT FERUZZI GROUP SPA - I - P
TAO SA - E - P
UNIVERSITE DE GENEVE - CH - P
FORTH RESEARCH CENTRE - GR - P
CMSU - GR - A
TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN - IRL - A
UNIVERSITÄT ZÜRICH-IRCHEL - CH - A
TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITÄT DRESDEN - D - A
DELPHI - I - A
UNIVERSITA DI MILANO - I - A
POLITECNICO DI MILANO - I - A
UNIVERSITA DI UDINE - I - A
D-TECH - GR - S


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ITHACA-2 - 2705, December 1993


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html version of synopsis by Nick Cook