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With the phenomenal growth of networks, today's developers must "think distributed". Applications--even parts of applications--must be able to migrate easily to a wide variety of computer systems, a wide variety of hardware architectures, and a wide variety of operating system architectures. They must operate with a plethora of graphical user interfaces.
Clearly, applications must be able to execute anywhere on the network without prior knowledge of the target hardware and software platform. If application developers are forced to develop for specific target platforms, the binary distribution problem quickly becomes unmanageable. Various and sundry methods have been employed to overcome the problem, such as creating "fat" binaries that adapt to the specific hardware architecture, but such methods are not only clumsy but are still geared to a specific operating system. To solve the binary-distribution problem, software applications and fragments of applications must be architecture neutral and portable.
R eliability is also at a high premium in the distributed world. Code from anywhere on the network should work robustly with low probabilities of creating "crashes" in applications that import fragments of code.