TAMPA, Fla. -- Object-oriented programming has yet to take root in the supermarket industry. But the rapidly changing nature of business today could make it a much more viable approach in the future.
"Where object [oriented programming] is having the biggest penetration is where the velocity of change is highest," said Jim Stikeleather, technology partner at Technical Resource Connection, a consulting firm here specializing in client-server and object-oriented computing, and former director of systems development at Kash n' Karry Food Stores here.
The programming system has already taken hold in several other industries undergoing massive transformation, including financial services, telecommunications and transportation. The retail industry, Stikeleather said, could be next.
Viewed as an advanced phase in the evolution of client-server technology, which retailers are already beginning to embrace, object-oriented programming holds the potential to reduce applications development time greatly and enhance system quality.
In its infancy today, the computing approach is based upon a collection of "objects," self-contained components of data and code that know how to respond to a set of commands. Each object's singular function allows for reusability, flexibility and scalability in systems development.
Reusability is a key attribute of object-oriented programming because it facilitates applications development, while strengthening consistency and data integrity throughout a networked computing environment.
"The first people to really jump on it were those in the financial community," followed by telecommunications and transportation, Stikeleather said.
"I look around and say, 'OK, those are the three most rapidly changing businesses -- and their move to objects is parallel to the change in business.' If this is a trend, then retail is next -- whether it's supermarkets or not, I don't know. But retail is starting now to experience rapid change in the nature of business," he said.