Monday, August 18, 2008

WaveMaker 4 Introduces RAD For Ajax

Since the concept of Rapid Application Development (RAD) was invented in 1991 by James Martin, much has changed in the IT world. Web-based application, web services and software as a service have dramatically changed application development. This in turn drives a need to update the concepts behind RAD, particularly for web-based applications.

What the web promises to add to traditional RAD is a more effective model for assembly and distribution of business applications. While newer development models like Agile and Extreme programming have gotten more attention recently, good old-fashioned RAD 2.0 has the potential to have a bigger impact in how business applications are delivered.

The essence of rapid application development is to convert database schema information (tables, columns, primary and foreign keys) into graphic interface forms. These forms in turn allow a developer to create, read, update and delete information from tables (while preserving relationships between tables)

Ruby on Rails (RoR) has a clear lead in bringing RAD to the web. RoR scaffolding allows developers to create simple Ajax applications quickly based on a database schema. Yet Ruby on Rails is focused on developers who work primarily by writing Ruby and Javascript code inside of an IDE. What about developers who want a visual way to build Ajax applications?

WaveMaker provides a RAD tool for Ajax developers, allowing developers to create rich internet applications without having to learn complex coding languages. WaveMaker 4 adds two significant features that put it at the top of the class in web application productivity: LiveForms and Templating.
  1. LiveForms: the most common task in a web application is to add functionality to create, read, update and delete information from a database table. Usually, this requires separate forms to create, update and delete data. WaveMaker 4 introduces the idea of a data and activity aware form: a single LiveForm widget is all you need to create, update and delete a row. More importantly, when you connect a LiveForm to a Grid, the form is aware of whether an item in the grid is selected, and so dynamically enables and disables buttons for update and delete.
  2. Templating: when we work with WaveMaker customers, the first big task in every project is to configure a set of widgets to match the company's user interface guidelines. With templates, developers have the ability to turn a predefined and styled set of widgets into a reusable template. This is a big change from client/server RAD, where there was less focus on the specific corporate look and feel. When you consider that a typical user interface can have 80-100 widgets just to set up the headers, columns and footers, having a few well-designed templates at the beginning of a project can be a huge help!

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