WaveMaker delivers for the cloud like PowerBuilder did for client-server 40

WaveMaker delivers for the cloud like PowerBuilder did for client-server

About WaveMaker

Rapid Application Development for Business-Critical Web 2.0 Applications

WaveMaker is an easy-to-use WYSIWYG development tool for the cloud platform.  It has a visual drag-and-drop interface that makes Web 2.0 and cloud application development easy and fun, like what PowerBuilder did for client-server.  If I had to describe WaveMaker in one sentence, I’d say it is an open, development IDE, that will help you build impressive looking RIA (Rich Internet Applications) without needing to know how to use CSSHTML or Java.  The finished product is a real Java application deployed as a .war or .ear file.

The interface has similarities to PowerBuilder in the sense that much of the development is drag-and-drop and WYSIWYG.   Like PowerBuilder you can create database update applications with no code, or very little code.   WaveMaker even has a feature mildly resembling the datawindow in PowerBuilder called enterprise data widgets.  You can import your data-model into WaveMaker and the data widgets are created for each of the tables in your database while taking into consideration the relationships between tables.  When you drag-and-drop the data widgets onto your application window, WaveMaker automatically creates “datawindow like” update forms.  In the application I created, a grid style list on the top and free-form detail view on the bottom.  To do that in PowerBuilder you’d actually need to create two datawindows, and write code to share them, sync them and call update functions.

Though similarities exist, PowerBuilder is a fat client, Win32 style tool and WaveMaker is a pretty Web 2.0 IDE that runs in your browser.   I love that WaveMaker works in Google Chrome and I have yet to encounter any problems with it which is great, I can’t stand tools that require I use the painfully slow Internet Explorer.

What sets WaveMaker apart from the competition?

WaveMaker is the hottest development platform for RIA available with over 15,000 developers worldwide.  The last time we’ve seen a development tool with such a head start over the competition was with PowerBuilder and client-server development in the 1990’s.  PowerBuilder developers cashed in for nearly a decade while PB maintained technical superiority and another decade due to the sheer number of apps developed in PowerBuilder needing to be maintained or rewritten.   Any developer looking to ride the next wave,  owe it to themselves to take a hard look at WaveMaker.

WaveMaker Studio generates standard Java apps – extensible by experienced Java developers using any Java IDE

You can develop a robust, fully functional database web application with create, read, update and delete functionality without writing any Java code.   This isn’t marketing hype, I’ve

WaveMaker is the next PowerBuilder for enterprise web applications

My first WaveMaker database web application. Created in less than an hour via a WaveMaker tutorial and has insert, update and delete functionality. Zero lines of Java code were written... by me.

downloaded WaveMaker and created my very first RIA in a matter of hours following the tutorial on the WaveMaker website.  The beauty of WaveMaker is that it generates a standard Java application (WAR or EAR file) that can be deployed to just about any old application server.

Entirely open source, including the WaveMaker application itself

WaveMaker is based on Dojo 1.0 framework and automatically generates Java, Spring,  ACEGI (Spring Security),  Hibernate, messaging, user security (LDAP or DBMS) and multitenancy code for you.  People like myself who want to learn all the latest technologies can use the generated code as a crutch in coming up to speed using Java and experienced Java developers can extend the WaveMaker applications as needed.  Last but not least, WaveMaker improves developer productivity after coding is completed by providing one-click deployment to various cloud-based servers!

WaveMaker applications have the benefits WPF without being forced to deploy on Microsoft servers

WaveMaker’s use of panels in the graphical designer is a strong feature that makes it easy to create attractive looking web 2.0 style apps that automatically scale, adjust and resize based on screen resolution or platform.  WaveMaker provides the same benefits as Microsoft’s new WPF technology without being forced to deploy on expensive Microsoft servers or software.  All other non WPF 4GL programming languages require that you manually code for resizing which can not only be time consuming but technically challenging if there are a lot of controls on the page.  So with WaveMaker you get the benefits of WPF but in an Open Source solution.

My first impressions after trying WaveMaker

Coming from a PowerBuilder background I expected a lot and WaveMaker delivered

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.   I’ve been spoiled with visual inheritance and the datawindow in PowerBuilder.

WaveMaker is the fastest, easiest way to develop RIA and soften the steep Java learning curve

WaveMaker is the first development tool 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.  I had initially planned on showing off my work in this article but I’m so impressed by the end result that I’m seriously considering finishing it up and making it a SaaS  (Software as a Service) offering.   The fact that a non-Java developer can take WaveMaker with minimal experience and training and develop a competitive SaaS should speak volumes about how powerful and easy to use WaveMaker really is.

WaveMaker is fun to use and I can use the generated code to better understand Java

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.  I recently had the opportunity to attend one of WaveMakers three-day, extensive nine-hour training courses which is offered for under $200 and worth every penny. 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.

You can try WaveMaker yourself by going to www.wavemaker.com/download!


Rich (aka DisplacedGuy)

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