Looking first at the terminal emulation market, it has become fashionable to say that it has a very short shelf life ahead of it. A few years, and that's it. In this world of connectivity that we live in, I would say that we are going to need a lot more emulation, with so many different systems all needing to talk to each other. Java, among other abilities, can allow an emulator to sit on a central host and download to a client at the click of an icon. Technology like Java does not take away the need for emulation; the need is either there or not. Java is essentially just a delivery method. Delivery on the Web is a whole issue in its own right. I foresee an increase in the number of Java-enabled emulators. Don't forget though that Java has its disadvantages. It is a great way of letting viruses onto a system, and consequently many corporates are banning it.
Les Ferrington, managing director of vendor Systems Marketing
Java has the long term potential to spawn a new class of distributed applications, affecting the future of traditional terminal emulation.
Cross platform independence, security, robustness, and increased network awareness, traditional weaknesses of current programming languages, ensures Java-based applications have the potential to complement or even replace host-based applications. The short term, however, sees organisations concentrating on more immediate issues. Presenting information from their existing host applications and databases to their new, browser-enabled workforce is the current goal for many organisations.
Roger Hopewell, open systems product specialist, Attachmate
We view Java as an enabling technology that will extend PC-to-host connectivity to intranets. This will allow organisations to be able to choose the Web browser as their interface for host access. Java applets will be used to extend the limited capabilities of current Web browser technology to allow several key benefits. These include stricter security, because the Java applet runs inside a Web browser; better user-defined security because a Java applet runs by itself; thin client networks that can be platform independent; no client protocol stacks needed; more centralised administration and control; Java syntax that is easy to learn, with fewer concepts, and is based on C+/C++.
Frank Reilly, European marketing manager of vendor Persoft
One question is whether people will continue to want emulation in its current form, which is very basic and inflexible. The Web offers something much cooler, in other words a proper representation of existing information.
The Web presents information in a natural environment, and I believe that emulation is heading that way too. It could rejuvenate applications. Java-enabled emulation in its current form is still a bit dumb. It's really just a bit of Unix that pops up on your browser screen. This will change if the intelligence is moved more to the server end.
David Gurr, market development manager with SCO
The sort of advantage that terminal emulation has historically had over PCs is the same sort of advantage that today's 'thin clients' have over a client/server model - a cheap device for each user with the intelligence at the server end. Java reinvents the terminal emulation principle in a sexy modern way. A Java-enabled terminal is not the same as an old-fashioned text-based terminal, because it has multimedia functionality, and some processing power.
Ian Stobie, research editor of new VNU magazine, Business Computer World
On a purely technical level, Java will have zero impact on the terminal emulation market. Terminal emulation is a function, and Java is a development environment. There will obviously be companies using Java to create terminal emulation products. The undertone to this question however is the impact that the Web will have on terminal emulation.
On a purely technical level, Java will have zero impact on the terminal emulation market. Terminal emulation is a function, and Java is a development environment. There will obviously be companies using Java to create terminal emulation products. The undertone to this question however is the impact that the Web will have on terminal emulation. At a conceptual level, we need to work out how to marry the two worlds. At the moment Java is a hot marketing term, which creates a lot of excitement among end users, but is of less consequence or use to Vars.
Steve Purdham, managing director of JSB
We are still trying to feel our way around what Java is all about at the moment. It seems to be a rather conceptual thing, but will presumably end up being another layer to the whole open systems philosophy. Like emulation, it will make hardware more transparent. I believe that terminal emulation will grow along with the growth in multi-user systems, although it may be increasingly impacted on by the rise of NT.
Phil Smith, MD of Ethics Distribution
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