Present and the future market scenario of software components

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INTRODUCTION:

One of the defining moments in our chronology of evolution has been the invention of computers. At the time when Charles Babbage was working with huge machines no one could predict the way our day to day lives would be transformed to such an extent. Computers have had almost a revolutionary effect but the intense penetration has been due to the result of softwares that aim to simulate the real life scenarios on computers. And, as is well known, the softwares also undergo evolution which aims at creating a new version by upgrading the efficiency, rectifying the bugs or errors and improving upon other functionalities as well.

Just like the way computers are getting miniaturized day by day to the extent that people can easily carry them as is the case with laptops, leaptpops, palmtops, notebooks, the softwares are also experiencing lots of evolution in the ways that they were being designed and developed. Focus in the contemporary times is to design softwares that are easily compatible to different devices, robust in performance, free from bugs, scalable for future modifications and resistant to any security threats. A wide practice has started wherein the softwares are being developed in modules and through the concept of components.

Understanding Software Components and the current market scenario:

Software components also known as componentwares are independently functioning parts which are integrated so that an application is finally developed. These components are akin to the independent entities like memory, processor, keyboard, monitors, disk drives, mouse which when integrated systematically, produce computers. In a similar way, the software components when integrated produce an application.

The exact model of software development has seen a sea change ever since the launch of Internet. This platform has given rise to open source softwares like LAMP (Linux-Apache-PHP-My SQL) technology, DRUPAL, Joomla, Wordpress and others. This along with the social networking sites like Orkut, Facebook, and Twitter etc has been responsible for formation of groups which share knowledge capital. These things have contributed heavily in the increasing reliance on the development of component based softwares. We can get components almost in any programming language, integrate them systematically and develop any application. This has really simplified the whole software development cycle and the associated cost per man hour is also significantly reduced.

Now a days, more and more components are being purchased through various online vendors in PLs (programming languages) like .NET, ActiveX, Java, JavaScript, Flash/Flex, C++/MFC, DLL, VCL etc. And the logic of this increasing demand is quite easy to analyze. For example, if a programmer spends 5 hours developing a particular component and the human capital cost is $40 per hour, then the cost of the component equals $ 200. Now, imagine the same component can be purchased in $ 40, and then even after making some parametrical changes to maintain the flow of software development, the net savings can be almost $120. This huge saving is driving firms and freelancers to opt for software components in order to develop the requisite softwares.

Software components are new and happening thing in the current market scenario. They are growing slowly but steadily and there are two reasons why they have not yet made the advances in the market, which had been analyzed and predicted by the concerned analysts. The reasons are following:

* Lack of awareness: Many people and programmers, especially from SMEs (the most potent revenue generating clients), are not completely aware about the exact resources to avail these components or they are not completely aware about the feasibility.

* Lack of the technical expertise: Availing a component is respectively an easy job but their streamlined integration requires standardizing interfaces OLE and OpenDoc. And familiarizing with these interfaces requires technical acumen. Since this is relatively a new technology so it will take some time for the programmers to develop some sort of expertise.

Apart from this, many companies have not yet realized the future with these components and that is why the marketing of the relevant products have not been aggressively done. However, as the things go or the stats speak these have made some serious advances and inroads in the contemporary times.

Examples of the growth of component softwares

The usage of component wares in the disguise of various alluring applications is on the rise which can be vindicated by the increased number of the users. Mobile phones are proving to be the breeding ground for this technical innovation. Just to cite an example of the rapid growth of the component softwares, early in 2009 the Apple's iTune App store registered a whopping 1 billion downloads in a brief period of just 9 months.

It can easily be seen that almost all the major and leading mobile manufacturing companies like Nokia, Motorola etc are trying hard to foray into this market and in fact they have capitalized a substantial chunk in a short period. Component softwares, now days have a grand presence in the section of the websites of these companies. Alternatively, they can also be found in the partner sites of the relevant mobile manufacturers.

Apples iPhone store boasts of almost 1, 00,000 applications (basically component softwares only) from the domain of games, entertainment (multimedia applications), and social networking. These applications can be easily downloaded and integrated in the respective iPhones. Similarly, Nokia has also come up with a huge assortment of various mobile applications which are nothing but the componentwares. These include applications like file access from anywhere, calendar applications, maps and the store which has various components, games and videos that can easily be downloaded. Nokia does it through the OVI store.

The search engine and Internet giant Google, too, has realized the huge potential in the field of componentwares. In their quest to tap the potential in a suitable fashion, it provides lots of functionalities like Qik, Sports Tap, LCI, Spreadsheet, DroidLive, Scan2 PDF Mobile, Wi-Fi, Spotify, Pandora, Mother TED, GolfCard, and atey, Open Table etc. Most of these applications serve to enhance the multimedia features that include song quality, video functionalities, and gaming. Besides, there are some new applications which tend to enrich the handsets with greater functionalities.

One of the reasons in the increasing popularity of these component wares, especially in mobile phone applications is the easy availability, easier associated process and free downloading options. The easy availability of hardwares like iPhone and iPod touch ensures that the developers can have them in a comfortable fashion. This in turn helps them to come with something innovative which is the reason why there is no dearth in the supply of the component wares. Besides being innovative, the developers or the programmers consistently keep updating these component softwares.

The future prospects of component softwares:

Apart from the cost efficiency and the speedy implementation of large applications, software components come with the flexibility of substitution and they are reusable too. This places them in a position where they are expected to witness large demand. In addition to this, implementation of new technologies like cloud computing, grid computing, and distributed systems etc are also slated to change the way softwares used to be developed. In future, the development will be done in a way that people will be able to perform tasks irrespective of their location and the integration will be done in the last phase. This would drive the need, dependency and the corresponding market of software components.

A large number of experts and analysts suggest that componentwares will slowly and gradually replace the object oriented programming. If their analysis or prophecies are true then the market potentials seem quite huge for these component softwares. In addition to these, the rapid expansions of social networking sites are supposed to play a crucial role in the expansion of knowledge about the component softwares. This would ensure that in the coming years a sizeable chunk of the software market will be sliced out by the componentwares.

Conclusion:

Software components are a new entrant in the process of software development. These are gripping the market in a slow yet significant manner. This is because of the flexibility, ease and economy that these have contributed in the overall software development cycle. Open source softwares, networking sites, cloud computing, distributed systems, grids computing etc are the prime reasons why there is lot of scope for popularity of these componentwares. The future might just beckon for these intelligent sources of developing softwares.

REFERENCES:

1. Apl inc. (2009). What is iPod touch. Available: http://www.apple.com/uk/ipodtouch/what-is/gaming-device.html. Last accessed 4 Dec 2009.

2. CBS Interactive Inc. (2009). The Componentware Revolution. Available: http://www.zdnetasia.com/itlibrary/software-and-web-development/0,3800009948,44635390p,00.htm. Last accessed 27 Nov 2009.

3. Computer Information Center (2002). Available :

4. Getamac. (2009). Apple's iTunes App Store hits 1 billion downloads. Available: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NY6-E-w2rY. Last accessed 5 Dec 2009

5. http://www.android.com/market http://www.compinfo.co.uk/apps/software_components.htmLast accessed 26 Nov 2009.

6. http://www.ovi.com

7. Small Business Computing Channel. (2003). component software . Available: http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/C/component_software.html. Last accessed 25 Nov 2009.

8. Wikipedia. (2009). Component-based software engineering. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Component-based_software_engineering. Last accessed 25 Nov 2009

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