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We need to put the soft back in software. It’s still very hard to produce software solutions. The problem doesn’t get any easier when you want to integrate a database product.

Modern programming languages have done a lot to make life easier for the programmer but the problem of integration is still hard. However, it’s not all gloom.

Integrating a relational database (that is, Derby into a web browser) is now not only feasible; it’s relatively straightforward. This opens up interesting possibilities on the client side, one of which is offloading a lot of data from the server.

Obviously, this is a nontrivial undertaking and it might be suited more to intranet than Internet applications. However, locally integrated databases open up new possibilities to web users.

Sun Microsystems has released a clever demo application that simulates a tax return program. The user interacts with the program to view and display tax return data as well as being able to create a new tax return.

There are many good reasons why such an application is ideally suited to the provision of a local database (for example, such data can be more easily secured against hackers or even other legitimate users). A database used to store such data is also a tidier solution because all the data is stored in one place instead of being stored in a number of files in different folders.

Numerous large organizations—such as IBM and Sun Microsystems—are committed to Derby technology and applications. This is evidenced by the deployment of Derby across a number of key Sun Microsystems product lines.

One problem that still remains to be solved in relation to Derby is support. The owners of smaller applications that use Derby might not yet be prepared to pay for support. But Linux users can now get commercial-grade support, so it’s likely that Derby users will, too, at some point.

If you have a spare minute, don’t forget to check out my new blog at the bottom of this URL page.

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