From design and manufacturing to electronic commerce, coordinating business activities in engineering applications requires accessing data and software from distributed sources. The Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) of the Object Management Group emerged in the 1990’s as a standard for access to distributed software components. Since that time, the standard has matured significantly, providing advanced features for event notification and transaction processing. At the same time, Java-based technology for distributed object computing has also emerged, from Remote Method Invocation to Enterprise JavaBeans, Jini Connection Technology, JavaSpaces, Java Messaging Service, and Java Transaction Service. Sorting through the options available for the use of such tools can be a difficult task. This paper provides an overview of CORBA and Java technology for distributed object computing. A comparison of these different technologies is presented, discussing the similarities and differences, as well as the way in which such tools can be used together for distributed access to the types of software and data components that are needed for the construction of distributed engineering applications. Future directions for the use of such tools are also identified.

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