OMG Details CORBA 3.0 Spec

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Object Management Group (Framingham, Mass., www.omg.org) unveiled details of its CORBA 3.0 specification, which is due for prerelease by the end of the year. Among the improvements the release is slated to deliver is a new component model that is expected to improve distributed deployment capabilities. The new version also will help Java and Internet technologies such as DHTML and XML leverage CORBA.

The new specification is formally called CORBA 3.0p, with the "p" designating a "pre-production" release of the standard. It was unveiled at the Comdex/Enterprise trade show held here last month. The final release is expected 3 to 6 months after the 3.0p release enters general availability, which is anticipated before year-end.

"The focus on CORBA 2.0 was interoperability; the focus on CORBA 3.0 is clearly on ease of use," said Richard Soley, OMG chairman and CEO, at Comdex/Enterprise. He added, "The most important [feature] is support for a distributed component model."

CORBA representatives dismissed questions as to whether the new release was a reaction to Microsoft Corp.’s push to make DCOM a de facto industry standard. "There are no specific additions to CORBA 3.0 that have anything to do with COM or DCOM," maintained Soley. He added, "What CORBA is about is integrating diverse systems. Wherever the diversity comes from, CORBA is about integrating about those different platforms."

"When you talk to the enterprise customers, I have yet to find anybody building their entire infrastructure using DCOM," added Richard LeFaivre, senior vice president of research and development at Inprise Corp. (Scotts Valley, Calif., www.inprise.com).

The new release follows CORBA 2.3, a minor release that became available during the summer months. The 2.3 release revised specifications addressing IDL/Java language mapping, ORB portability IDL/Java, and a number of other enhancements. The 3.0 release adds a scripting language specification, which will allow client developers to create and access CORBA servers. Support is also added for passing information in an object-oriented form across a network. Called Objects-by-Value, this improvement is expected to ease integration of CORBA into Java.

"CORBA 3.0 registers as a significant event, because it finally closes the gap that has separated CORBA from being the ideal distributed-computing infrastructure for Java," says Mike Gilpin, an analyst with Giga Information Group (Cambridge, Mass.). Gilpin says the most important new features are the improved component model, additional Java interoperability, support for asynchronous messaging, a firewall specification that defines a standard way for passing IIOP through firewalls, and support for distributed computing environment interoperability, embedded systems, real-time systems and scripting languages.

What’s Included in CORBA 3.0p

  • A new component model that specifies the framework for "plug-and-play" CORBA objects.
  • A new scripting language specification that will ease the composition of CORBA components using scripts.
  • A specification that details how to pass information in an object-oriented form across a network. Called Objects-by-Value, this will improve ease-of-integration with Java.
  • New Java-language-to-IDL-Mapping specification that will enable Java developers to create distributed applications in Java and then generate CORBA IDL from Java class libraries.
  • Addition of the CORBA 3.0 firewall specification, which defines interfaces that will support passing Internet Inter-ORB Protocol through a firewall.
  • In the minimum CORBA specification, details of requirements for users developing CORBA-compliant systems in embedded environments.