When it comes to generating software components available for building applications, Microsoft .Net is outstripping Java by a wide margin. It's an odd measure, because building components and then making them available for resale is an activity that still engages relatively few developers.
Nevertheless, it provides a crude measure of where developer activity is focused and what technologies are attracting the most developer talent. Components for .Net, which include earlier-generation ActiveX controls, outnumber Java components nine to one on the online component marketplace, www.ComponentSource.com.
The leading seller on ComponentSource is NetAdvantage 2003, a set of presentation-layer components from Infragistics Inc. The set includes menus, toolbars, charting, list bars, and grid and editing functions--a 133-megabyte download--in one $433.13 package.
"We are very much interested in reducing the disparity," between Microsoft .Net and Java components, which represents a 9 to 1 gap, says ComponentSource spokeswoman Celine Alley. She said the company actively seeks out developers and small independent software houses, urging them to resell their wares in its online marketplace. Not all of them take ComponentSource up on the offer, she said.
Nevertheless, the market for components available online is growing rapidly. ComponentSource started with 200 units of software in 1995, growing steadily to its present 10,000 component offerings. CEO Sam Patterson said ComponentSource offers components from 200 companies.
Atlanta-based ComponentSource announced yesterday it would try to extend the reach of its marketplace by acquiring a competitor's component marketplace, www.flashline.com, from Flashline Inc. Flashline will concentrate on selling its component reuse and tracking system, Component Manager Enterprise Edition, inside enterprises instead of mounting an online marketplace, CEO Charles Stack says.
"Software has to become an industry like hardware, with marketplaces for components," says Stack. As ComponentSource develops the external market, Flashline will be inside companies "delivering the same value," he says. Flashline's CMEE component-management system can expose software developed in one part of the company to developers in another part, Stack says.