As providers of the technical infrastructure needed to build applications, application server vendors could be considered the real losers in the thriving Internet economy. Newcomers to this market have quite a hard time. Indeed, the market leaders have already been identified (i.e., BEA, IBM, SUN and Microsoft); a few gumption-filled challengers have stormed the front (Bluestone, SilverStream, Allaire, and the like); and some standard OSS application servers such as Enhydra have made the community stand up and take notice.
All things aside, one big issue still needs to be addressed: application server productivity. If we compare the productivity of today’s Web application development tools with the rich client/server tools we had (and still have), there is still a lot of room for improvement.