Each wave of development has had a distinctly character - either logic-based or visually based. The tools to support each of these waves have been tailored correspondingly.
While the last 8 years have been dominated by thin-client architectures and code-based tools for expert users, the rich client technologies and collaborative user expectations behind Web 2.0 argue strongly that a new wave of development tools is beginning.
Here is my take on the four big development waves:
- Green screen (1960-1990): centralized development with code-based Cobol tools
- Client/server wave (1991-1997): departmental development with visual-based tools like PowerBuilder, Notes, Access, Oracle Forms.
- Thin client wave (1998-2007): centralized development with code-based Java tools
- Rich client wave (2008+): Web 2.0 democratizes development and dramatically opens up both the responsiveness and functionality of the client with an avalanche of Internet-based widgets and services. Can today's code-based tools targeting expert Java and C# developers ride this wave? History would say no.
We believe that the industry stands on the edge of a new wave of computing, driven by the Rich Internet Application architecture. Web applications are moving from static, limited html pages to much more responsive and powerful widgets and services.
The explosion of widgets and services available on the Internet is driving a demand among business users for more useful business applications. As thing client applications get more visual, coding tools like Eclipse and Microsoft's mis-named Visual Studio are increasingly awkward.
To underline this point, a recent customer was able to re-build an application in our visual tools using 98% less code than in .NET/Visual Studio. Note that it is important for visual tools to support coding for advanced services - we are not advocating code-free development, just code-lite development, particularly for visual web applications.
After nine months of hard work, we are ready to start making waves. Over the next month, we will be introducing a product that will launch the next wave of enterprise computing. Our vision is to be the Powerbuilder of Web 2.0.
To underline our commitment to this vision, we have changed the company name to WaveMaker. And that is exactly what we intend to do!