ClearNova gives AJAX an automation boost

ClearNova gives AJAX an automation boost

Summary: Balance among differing and sometimes highly complex development approaches is the key.

SHARE:
Given a choice between a Web application and an AJAX application, hands-down users and architects alike will choose the rich AJAX features. This simple fact is building big pressure behind the conversion of simple Web applications Balance among differing and sometimes highly complex development approaches is the key. for AJAX-enablement. But what of big, honking enterprise Java applications? They could surely benefit from a no-download, any-browser rich GUI benefit, too. Right?

ClearNova has helped bridge the gap between AJAX benefits and J2EE complexity -- and added a significant RAD benefit to the process -- with the pending GA on Dec. 13 of its ThinkCAP JX development framework. While many applications are being AJAX-ified with a bevy of open source tools, frameworks, and home-grown customizations, there have been few options for bringing an automation level to the process that helps Visual Basic and PowerBuilder types enter the practice.

This is no panacea. Most developers tending toward AJAX are quite content with a limited balance of automation. They want a GUI and a framework, and then they will find and integrate the best tools and libraries for the job. These developers either want to do business logic their own way (sloppy as it may be) or to focus just on one or two tiers of development. I think that ClearNova, a privately held start-up in Atlanta, has recognized the need for a balance of the automation, but also the ability to go deep and allow for three-tier RAD and integration benefits with AJAX.

Balance among differing and sometimes highly complex development approaches is the key. The ThinkCAP JX release recognizes the RAD benefits of reducing handcrafting and scripting, while leaving the choice of tools and approaches to the business logic creation up to the individual developer.

I took a briefing on ThinkCAP JX this week, and my take is the timing in the market for this is spot-on. And the neutrality among existing open source tools and frameworks will hasten its popularity. ThinkCAP competes with Microsoft's Atlas in the .NET space, but in the arena of Java, open scripting, and browser and servlet engine openness, the AJAX momentum will surely benefit from a RAD-devoted framework that supports Struts, Hibernate, Eclipse, and is robust enough to AJAX-enable huge, transactional applications.

It would be nice if RAD AJAX development could also automate the support of PHP, SOA, and BPEL, but I'm told we'll have to wait for that. I wouldn't be surprised either to see ThinkCAP move fully to Eclipse rather than just support it. Based on the popularity of such new books as "AJAX in Action," the momentum around AJAX is not just another rung up the hype curve, but marks a true shift in developer thinking. The hunt will be on for the best, fastest way to bring AJAX benefits to the most applications.

AJAX is so popular that it could well give Java development itself much longer legs -- and expand its use beyond the current 3 million developers worldwide -- just as Microsoft's Visual Studio 2005 is entering the market and .NET is widely praised for its developer productivity benefits. I guess we could think of RAD frameworks such as ThinkCAP JX as creating what amounts to .Java. It may also push Microsoft to soon support more than Internet Explorer and to focus on the meta data regardless of the runtime. Naaaaah.

Topic: Software Development

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

3 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Ajax in Action

    Asynchronous Javascript and XML.
    Well, if your web average developer has a modicum of experience with existing web technologies:

    1) Javascript,
    2) CSS (Cascading Style Sheets),
    3) DHTML,
    4) DOM, and
    5) XML

    then he/she has a good shot at understanding and piecing together AJAX, but I'd recommend the book Ajax in Action as a good starting point.

    Of course, you'll begin seeing frameworks offerings which encapsulate and ease the effort required to acheive AJAX, that otherwise would require extra 'manual' coding (e.g. Ruby on Rails).

    If you have a Google gmail account, or just go to Google's various websites, reader, maps, video, base, well, you'll get a pretty good feel for 'AJAX in Action'-- start with Google Maps.

    Thanks for the good article.
    D T Schmitz
  • AJAX IDE in AJAX

    Also check out TIBCO's AJAX RAD tools and framework. The tools actually run in the browser too as an AJAX app. Testimony to what can be achieved. It's features are way ahead of anything else in the market. That's because TIBCO's General Interface (that's the name of the product and the company TIBCO bought last year) folks have been at it since 2001.

    Get your hands on this breakthrough ajax tooling (that's actually been around for 4 years) at http://developer.tibco.com
    khakman
  • AJAX Functional Testing

    Most of the current functional testing tools don't support AJAX. I can recommend SWExplorerAutomation <b>SWEA</b> from <u>http://webiussoft.com</u>. SWEA was specially designed to support AJAX and complex DHTML Web applications.
    alex_f_il@...