Thursday, August 14, 2008

WaveMaker 4 Introduces Point and Click Ajax (Post 1 of 4)

In February, WaveMaker introduced the first visual development environment for Ajax applications. Today, we have taken another big leap forward in productivity, by launching WaveMaker 4, a point and click development platform capable of creating a fully deployed Ajax application in just 9 mouse clicks!

I'm not talking about some proprietary hairball here - in 9 clicks, WaveMaker takes you from a blank screen to a fully deployed Ajax application complete with Postgres Plus database connectivity and running on a standard Tomcat/Spring/Hibernate server.

wavemaker 4 swamis releaseWith WaveMaker 4, we choose 4 areas where we wanted to be best in class. Those areas are:
  1. Lowest learning curve - WaveMaker 4 is the easiest way to start building Ajax applications.
  2. Highest productivity - our WYSIWYG Ajax studio delivers best in class productivity for basic business applications.
  3. Sheer beauty - our Dojo-based Ajax client produces jaw-dropping user interfaces.
  4. Easiest mashup tool - nobody delivers a better mashup tool for web services Java classes and databases than WaveMaker.
Over the next few days I will address each of these areas and talk about how we achieved our goals.

Ajax Learning Curve - WaveMaker Stomps Dreamweaver

WaveMaker exists to democratize web development. With WaveMaker, you can point and click your way to a running web application in just 9 clicks and without a single line of programming. We believe this will appeal to two kinds of developers: Java developers who don't want to muck with Javascript, and non-expert developers who want to avoid as much coding as possible period.

For Ajax client development, Eclipse, Netbeans, Aptana and Dreamweaver are all good tools, but require you to be a Javascript (or Flex) expert to build a web application, something that many Java developers would like to avoid. On the SaaS side, products like Coghead and have a low learning curve, but require you to use their proprietary language, architecture and hosting to just get started - a steep trade-off for ease of use.

How easy is it? Let's walk through the 9 click scenario:

Point and Click Ajax - How To Build an Ajax Application In 9 Clicks

Click 1: create new project. Start the WaveMaker studio. Note that it runs in a browser - note further that WaveMaker studio was built in WaveMaker, a pretty good indication of the power of the tool itself. Note that just for fun I am running WaveMaker in the same browser where I am writing my blog post - just because I can :-)

Click 2: import database (Model). WaveMaker can import the database schema information from Postgres or any other major database, thanks to our underlying use of Hibernate. WaveMaker comes with a schema editor, so you can actually create your database schema within WaveMaker as well. Importing the database gives you the Model part of a model-view-controller architecture.

Clicks 3, 4, 5: create application template (View). Open page designer, open template chooser, drag application template onto WaveMaker canvas. Templates are collections of pre-styled widgets that can give you a full UI in a single click, including a template that inserts a standard search box, list data grid and detail live form. Creating the widget layout gives you the view part of the model-view-controller architecture.

Click 6: create live variable (Controller). Our live variable will hold database customer information. WaveMaker uses a model-view-controller architecture that greatly simplifies the development of web applications. The Live Variables are the controller elements in WaveMaker's model-view-controller architecture. LiveVariables automatically update themselves when the underlying data changes, allowing the widget to be concerned only with data display and creating a clean separation between the Model and the View elements in the architecture.

Click 7: connect customer data to grid. WaveMaker provides an intuitive interface to connect the customer live variable to the data grid. Have you noticed that within the studio you get live data into your widgets? This means that the application is actually running while you design it, eliminating the typical build-compile-run-debug time suck. Is that the coolest thing ever or what?

Click 8: connect selected customer item to customer edit form. WaveMaker exposes the currently selected item as a data source that you can provide as input to the Live Form. The Live Form is data aware, so it automatically configures itself with the appropriate editors to support the underlying data schema, including auto-configuring drop-down selects to set foreign key relationships - seriously cool stuff!

Click 9: press run to deploy your application onto the built-in Tomcat server.

Presto - while any other Ajax developer is still waiting for Eclipse to load, you have built and deployed a complete web application. Give yourself a hand, and give the WaveMaker engineering team a hand to while you're at it!


Our celebration launch included some very cold vodka shots and a group pose with the company mascot, a surfboard. Derek claims that if you chill the vodka enough and drink it in one gulp you won't get a hangover. I was not able to confirm this claim - maybe we just need a better freezer!

wavemaker celebration chris keene derek henninger chloe jackson reche kirkland frankie fu

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