Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Powerful Web 2.0 Alternative to PowerBuilder

Rich Bianco over at the Displaced Guy blog just wrote a post entitled WaveMaker delivers for the cloud like PowerBuilder did for client-server. In it, he talks about using WaveMaker to migrate PowerBuilder applications to Java.

He makes a number of great point in his post. Here are the key take-aways

1. PowerBuilder is a powerful product but developers need a rich internet alternative.
"I’ve spent most of my career doing PowerBuilder development against every major DBMS and I still believe it offers productivity beyond anything on the market for client-server applications. But the writing is on the wall for client-server and rich internet applications and WaveMaker are the future."
2. WaveMaker is particularly easy to learn for PowerBuilder developers because it uses the same visual development and data window-like concepts
"WaveMaker is the first development tool since PowerBuilder to catch my attention and keep it. WaveMakers’ claim of building a functional enterprise web application without needing to write Java code is for real. In a single day, I’ve taken an existing PHP / MySQL web 1.0 application and re-created a good portion of the core functionality using WaveMaker."
3. WaveMaker is just plain fun, particularly for PowerBuilder developers!
"From the day I downloaded WaveMaker and gave it a test run I knew that it was the next step for me as a former PowerBuilder developer. Not and not only am I still having a blast but I feel as confident as ever to tackle the challenge of developing enterprise web applications, or robust SaaS solutions."
It has taken WaveMaker almost 3 years to build a worthy replacement for PowerBuilder. We certainly have not achieved the full breadth of functionality that developers can get from mature client/server tools like PowerBuilder, MS Access and Oracle Forms. However, for developers who want a fast and easy way to build Web 2.0 applications, WaveMaker rocks!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Migrating from Microsoft to Open Cloud Tools - Mind the Gap

A recent survey of WaveMaker's 15,000 developers found that over 20% had moved to WaveMaker as an alternative to Microsoft development tools like MS Access and MS .NET.

"Microsoft shops" typically employ a variety of Microsoft products and have dozens to hundreds of applications that now need to be migrated.

Having worked with many companies going through this migration process, here are some best practices I have seen:
1. Triage, triage, triage - figure out which apps are really critical to your business/users and focus on them. Often, as you migrate them from Microsoft to WaveMaker you will find that you can combine several clunky client/server apps into a single rich internet application.
2. WaveMaker makes open a lot easier - WaveMaker hides most of the alphabet soup web technologies from the user (html/css/javascript/java etc). This flattens the learning curve to get out from under all those MS technologies. From our survey, we found that fear of the steep web development learning curve is one of the main reasons companies stick with the proprietary Microsoft tools.
3. WaveMaker is a lot more productive - we find that MS .NET apps can typically be rebuilt in WaveMaker with 80%+ fewer lines of code. See the Nationwide video on the WaveMaker web site for a case example that resulted in 98% fewer lines of code! That translates to big savings in productivity and quality, both in development and maintenance.
4. Open is still a bit messier - even though WaveMaker hides most of the hard stuff, it can't hide all of it. Microsoft's great advantage is that everything is tightly integrated into one convenient but proprietary package. In contrast, WaveMaker integrates with many databases, report writers, etc, which is more flexible but puts more work on the developer to manage their environment.

In short, WaveMaker provides a much gentler path for migrating from the Microsoft Borg to the wonderful world of open standards, but there is still a cost for all that flexibility.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Citrix & WaveMaker - A Little Leverage Goes a Long Way

Citrix and WaveMaker's partnership to deliver a complete cloud developmentplatform is gaining attention.

This week, John Abbott of the 451 Group wrote a piece on how the Citrix Cloud Center strategy is coming together, thanks to a little help from WaveMaker (registration required).

The Citrix/WaveMaker development and test solution gives Cloud Hosting Providers a way to build a cloud ecosystem that will help them attract and retain customers. As John says:
"Telcos and service providers want the elbow room to differentiate their services from competitors by adding their own intellectual property."
With WaveMaker's cloud development platform, Cloud Hosting Providers make it easy for developers to build applications that deploy seamlessly to their cloud and can take advantage of their unique services for security, scalability and manageability.

Finally, the 451 Group points out that WaveMaker gives Citrix an easy-to-use PaaS solution that can leverage the Citrix cloud stack, much as SpringSource can leverage the VMWare stack. All in all, WaveMaker is shaping up as a game changer for cloud solution providers!