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3.8.6) OMG/OMA/ORB/CORBA Implementation Descriptions: HP ORB Plus and HP Distributed Smalltalk


This article is from the Object-Oriented Technology FAQ, by Bob Hathaway rjh@geodesic.com with numerous contributions by others.

3.8.6) OMG/OMA/ORB/CORBA Implementation Descriptions: HP ORB Plus and HP Distributed Smalltalk

DATE: September 27, 1993

PALO ALTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE) via First! -- Hewlett-Packard Company
today introduced a distributed-computing solution for building scalable,
object-oriented applications.

With HP ORB Plus, programmers can develop scalable, object-based
applications that can be distributed throughout the enterprise. HP also
introduced an enhanced version of HP Distributed Smalltalk.

HP ORB Plus and HP Distributed Smalltalk are major components of HP's
overall distributed-computing strategy, which is designed to give customers
integrated, desktop access to enterprise-wide information and resources in
distributed heterogeneous systems environments. Of all computer companies,
HP believes it is best positioned to help customers take advantage of
distributed computing. HP provides a wide variety of distributed-computing
products, understands how to help customers adopt new technology for maximum
business benefit, and offers worldwide support and training programs,
ranging from analysis and design to deployment.


HP ORB Plus is the only environment that combines the complete CORBA 1.1
specification from the Object Management Group with the DCE standard from
the Open Software Foundation(tm) as its transport mechanism. DCE is
designed to let developers write one application and then deploy it --
without modification -- on any other system that supports DCE. HP ORB Plus
reduces the complexity of developing distributed applications so programmers
can concentrate on the application itself without needing to know multiple
operating systems, networking protocols or where application objects are

The DCE (Distributed Computing Environment) standard provides an
integrated set of services that can be used separately or together to
provide a distributed computing environment that's easy to administer. The
CORBA (common-object-request-broker architecture) specification provides a
standard for how objects (in applications, repositories or class libraries)
make requests and receive responses across a distributed network.


HP ORB Plus consists of several components: the Distributed Object
Management Facility (DOMF), object services, developers' and administrative
tools, and sample applications. HP's DOMF provides a location-transparent
object-communication mechanism across heterogeneous networks by using the
DCE standard. This object- enabling technology specification was jointly
developed with SunSoft. By following a common specification, HP and SunSoft
have made it easier for their customers to port applications between their

In addition, HP is working with IBM to integrate HP's DOMF with IBM's
System Object Model with extensions for distribution. This integration will
eventually provide users with complete scalability, portability and
interoperability of distributed applications across HP and IBM platforms.
This is part of the companies' planned approach toward a standards-based,
"plug-and-play" object-oriented environment. This will give developers,
system administrators and end users language-neutral, enterprise-wide,
heterogeneous support for building, managing and using distributed object-
oriented applications.

"We're so convinced of the value of object technology that we're staking
our entire company on it," said Richard Tanler, president and chief
executive officer of Information Advantage, Inc. "Our object-based
applications for retailers provide the means to a competitive business edge.
We plan to use HP ORB Plus to develop new object-based products that
retailers can distribute to end users throughout headquarters, all chain
stores, and warehousing and distribution operations."


In a related announcement, HP introduced Version 2.0 of HP Distributed
Smalltalk. This toolset works with VisualWorks from ParcPlace Systems to
provide programmers with a rapid development environment for creating and
running distributed applications. These applications can use object
databases (currently OpenODB from HP and Gemstone from Servio) as their
storage mechanism to facilitate the reuse of objects.

Applications built using HP Distributed Smalltalk currently run without
modification on HP, Sun and IBM UNIX(R) system-based workstations. They
also will run on Apple Macintosh computers and on any PC running the Windows
3.1 or Windows NT operating systems from Microsoft(R) Corp., once
VisualWorks 2.0 is released (expected within two months.)

New HP Distributed Smalltalk 2.0 features include the following:

-- easier deployment, with the ability to run multiple HP
Distributed Smalltalk-based applications on a single system;
-- up to 400 percent increased performance, through quicker
sending and receiving of remote messages, and reusable
object libraries;
-- run-time version, for full production deployment; and
-- easier development, with remote object browsing so
developers can find and use objects more quickly.


HP's DOMF includes the object request broker, interface- definition-
language compiler, static and dynamic invocation interface and interface
repository. In addition to these OMG-specific features, most developers
writing distributed, object-oriented applications require additional
interfaces to use objects effectively. So developers don't need to create
their own, HP has supplied several object-service interfaces for developers
to use. That's why HP ORB Plus includes OMG interfaces and implementations
for properties, life cycle, associations, event notification and naming.

HP's limited release of HP ORB Plus to key developers is designed so that
customer input can be incorporated into the product early in its development
cycle. The initial version will work with the C++ programming language.
For the generally available Developer's Kit, C++, C and Smalltalk
interoperability is planned so objects written in different languages can be
combined into one application. The Developer's Kit is scheduled to be
available mid- 1994; prices will be announced then. HP ORB Plus runs on the
HP Apollo 9000 Series 700 workstations and HP 9000 Series 800 business

Hewlett-Packard Company is an international manufacturer of measurement
and computation products and systems recognized for excellence in quality
and support. The company's products and services are used in industry,
business, engineering, science, medicine and education in approximately 110
countries. HP has 94,900 employees and had revenue of $16.4 billion in its
1992 fiscal year.

Hewlett-Packard Company
Lynne Hanson, 408/447-1415, Cupertino, Calif.
Jill Kramer, 408/447-4275, Cupertino, Calif.

For more information about HP ORB Plus, contact Kathy Litch

For more information about HP Distributed SmallTalk, contact
Jerry Boortz (jerry_boortz@hp4000.desk.hp.com).


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