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Templates and code generation

A number of development tools provide a variety of templates for creating common application components. Rather than creating all the pieces of an application from scratch, developers can customize an existing template. They can also re-use custom components in multiple applications by creating their own templates. Other development tools will generate large pieces of code (skeletons) based on the design models and coding conventions. The code could include hooks at the code pieces that need to be added.

In this respect, templates and application frameworks should be considered IT assets. These assets not only guide the developing of applications, but also incorporate the lessons learned or intellectual capital from previous application development efforts. The more that standard components are designed into the solution, the faster applications can be developed, against lower costs in the long term (not ignoring the fact that development of templates, code generators and application frameworks requires significant investment).

Embedded application instrumentation

The development phase deals with incorporating instrumentation into the fabric of the application. Developers need a consistent way to provide instrumentation for application drivers/middleware components (e.g. database drivers) and applications that is efficient and easy to implement. To keep application developers from reinventing the wheel with every new application they develop, the computer industry provides methods and technologies to simplify and facilitate the instrumentation process.

These include:

  • Application Response Measurement (ARMS)
  • IBM Application Management Specification (AMS)
  • Common Information Model (CIM) and Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) from the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF)
  • Desktop Management Instrumentation (DMI)
  • Microsoft Windows © Management Instrumentation (WMI)
  • Java Management Extension (JMX).

Each of these technologies provides a consistent and richly descriptive model of the configuration, status and operational aspects of applications and services. These are provided through programming Application Program Interfaces (APIs) that the developer incorporates into an application, normally through the use of standard programming templates.

It is important to ensure that all applications are built to conform to some level of compliance for the application instrumentation. Ways to do this could include:

  • Provide access to management data through the instrumentation API
  • Publish management data to other management systems, again through the instrumentation API
  • Provide applications event handling
  • Provide a diagnostic hook.

Diagnostic hooks

Diagnostic hooks are of greatest value during testing and when an error has been discovered in the production service. Diagnostic hooks mainly provide the information necessary to solve problems and application errors rapidly and restore service. They can also be used to provide measurement and management information of applications.

The three main categories are:

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