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COOTS 1998 Abstract

Programming Network Components Using NetPebbles: An Early Report

Ajay Mohindra, Apratim Purakayastha,
Deborra Zukowski, and Murthy Devarakonda
IBM T.J. Watson Research Center


A network-centric application developer faces a number of challenges, including distributed program design, efficient remote object access, software reuse, and program deployment issues. This level of complexity hinders the developer's ability to focus on the application logic. NetPebbles removes this complexity from the developer through a network-component based scripting environment where remote object access and program deployment are transparent to the developer. In NetPebbles, a developer selects needed network components from a distributed catalog, and then writes a script invoking its methods as if the components are local. When the script is launched, the runtime determines the component sites in the network and transparently moves the script as needed. Using three simple examples with different data flow patterns, we show that the NetPebbles approach is superior to the traditional client/server systems and mobile agent technologies because a scripting language is easy to use, it requires less code, and the distributed systems complexity is hidden from the programmer. This paper is an early report on the NetPebbles project, describing the motivation, design, prototype implementation, and the experiments using the NetPebbles approach..
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