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)

40 Responses

  1. […] With PowerBuilders’ popularity on an apparent decline it is only a matter of time before Sybase decides to pull the cord on it.   Even though the tool offers productivity unmatched by other leading tools it may lose critical mass needed to stay in the market.   Everyone is watching and waiting to see what happens and WaveMaker couldn’t have come a minute too soon.  WaveMaker is the first tool that I’ve been exited about using since PowerBuilder.  I’m committed to riding the next wave (pun) and learning WaveMaker.   Watch my blog in the coming weeks for new WaveMaker articles, tutorials and comparisons between PowerBuilder and WaveMaker.  Here is one article on WaveMaker. […]

  2. I have been a PB developer too (version 3 to 9) and I was initially also excited by what WaveMaker (or ActiveGrid as it was still called back then) was trying to do, make a PB-like IDE for todays web applications. I have to say though that I have a big problem with the fact that WaveMaker is built on top of Java, which by itself already has too many layers of complexity (read cause of soooo many j2ee project failures of disappointing over-budget late deliveries). I wish them good luck but I am looking towards Smalltalk based frameworks like Seaside of AIDA because they at least have the basics right and a lot of the OO reminds me of how I used to design my custom visual and non-visual PB objects 🙂

    • Lucky you! You still get to code in Smalltalk!! Not really an option for me – everyone wants either Java or C#

  3. For me, nothing will ever match the productivity of PowerBuilder, but it is tough to find interesting work as a PB developer these days (although @geert seems to know people who are still willing to use Smalltalk!).

    WaveMaker sounds like a good way to do visual development with Java – thanks for your post, I will definitely check it out!

  4. Hey man, was just browsing through the internet looking for some information on this and stumbled your blog. I am impressed by the info that you have here. It shows how well you understand this. Bookmarked this page for further reading, will come back for more.

  5. INteresting review. A similar comparative review for Servoy and Magic would be interesting. The Magic product is now called uniPaas. Had a quick look at wavemaker and I also have an application I want to build.

    I would be concerned about the scalability and complexity of the platform for very large sites / systems, but that will be true for any Java J2EE based system built on a plain vanilla RDBMS and Apache type setup. For some types of major systems then scalable NOSql databses and lighter faster web servers need to be used.

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  7. Hello – Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. As always feel free to let me know about subjects you are interested in and I will try to help. People that have asked to link to this article that is fine, just be sure to have a link back to the original article.
    Rich (DisplacedGuy)

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  12. I jump to this page from your previous article about powerbuilder phenomenon. I’m a PB developer too, since version 3 (so called VB killer). I can’t touch other dev tools beside PB, really. unfortunately, in this age of net, PB was so left behind. for the last five years, I’m searching for PB replacement, but I can’t get one. even I’ve tried VS.net, and got frustrated. worst, I start to think of retirement…
    Thanks god, I found this article. Immediately after read this article, I clicked the link, and download the tools. Now download already finish, wavemaker ot installed yet. I put so many hope and expectations of wavemaker, even before I try it. All because I read this article. Hope, there will be no big jump from PB to the wave’new hope’maker.

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