With the introduction of the RTI Developer Platform tool suite, Real Time Innovations (RTI), The Real Time Middleware Company, is taking a major new step to extend its leadership in the rapidly emerging market for high-performance messaging and software integration solutions for time-critical distributed applications.

Until now, the development and integration of scalable distributed applications in which real-time message and data throughput are critical issues have been extremely complex and cumbersome, sometimes with costly and unpredictable results. To minimize this risk, RTI is the first to offer a complete and dedicated tools solution enabling the development, debug, analysis and optimization of distributed systems and applications that must deal with multiple sources of event-driven, time-critical data and seamlessly tie complex networks of independent devices into a logical and manageable whole.

"The availability of tools is often why developers choose a specific technology. The benefit of using an open-standard data distribution technology is certainly appealing to customers such as government agencies and large corporations when scalability and reliability are paramount," noted Chris Lanfear, director of the Embedded Software Group at Venture Development Corporation. "Additionally, tools are becoming an indispensable part of the day-to-day quality assurance that customers need for their systems engineering processes."

RTI Developer Platform tool suite targets a development environment based on the open-standard Data Distribution Service (DDS) and addresses two specific problems facing designers of real-time distributed systems. Firstly, as the size and functionality of a distributed system increases, applications generally do not scale well. Secondly, application developers are forced to address performance requirements of the system through careful use of techniques such as optimized coding, thread management and awareness of network topology at the application-code level.

By having to implement and enforce performance requirements at the application-code level, the developer pays the penalty of an inherently unstable code base, since the initial performance level is likely to change unpredictably as network topologies and application requirements change over time. This traditionally has required further work at the application-code level to correct the problem.

The DDS standard's publish-subscribe communications model combined with its quality-of-service (QoS) capabilities addresses both these issues. The model manages performance in these complex scalable distributed systems by allowing an abstracted view of the network whereby the developer only has to specify the performance requirements between any two points. Then, using QoS, the developer is able to initiate negotiation of a service capability to meet the needs of the application.

To address system scalability issues, DDS provides an abstracted definition of the distributed system at the data level, eliminating the need for location-specific information to be associated with providers or consumers of the required data. This allows developers to implement an application without regard to the network topology or underlying implementation. Now they just need to know that the information may exist and how they want it to be provided.

The RTI Development Platform environment considerably simplifies the challenge of building these complex, high-performance distributed systems. However as middleware is now taking on many of the tasks previously required of the application developer-such as tracking of information by location, or implicit understanding of the distributed system implementation for the purposes of managing high-performance throughput-the developer now needs tools to better build and validate that the system is working optimally so adjustments can be made, if necessary, to the QoS utilization.

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