|By Alan Fisher||
|February 14, 2011 07:45 AM EST||
Increasingly, IT managers, CIOs and software developers are turning to a new approach for rapidly building robust database applications without programming - application generators. Today's business environment demands managers find ways to do more with less, and application generation allows both developers and non-developers to build applications quickly and efficiently.
What Types of Applications Can You Build?
Application generation tools build database-driven applications that can be deployed to the Web, the Cloud, or to Microsoft SharePoint environments. Like any hand-built application, these database applications are typically used for:
- Data entry and management: collecting and editing data from users.
- Reporting and tracking: reporting, summarizing and visualizing data.
- Workflow and scheduling: automating step-wise business processes.
- Business process automation: orchestrating data flow between multiple systems.
While individual applications may look quite different from one another, these applications usually contain a variety of rich, interactive page types, reports, data import and export features, and integrated application security. Because most business applications are built atop an underlying database, they lend themselves to automated and semi-automated solutions for creating and customizing their Web pages and data access code. Only custom business logic need be added by hand. Moving from the conceptual to a concrete example, let's take a look at one such tool, marketed as Iron Speed Designer.
The figure above shows a typical order management application that was generated by Iron Speed Designer. To develop this application, you begin with a simple application wizard to create a fully functioning Web application based on your underlying database. This application can be deployed "as ism" or further customized using an intuitive page layout spreadsheet and simple Microsoft Excel-like formulas to add custom logic. Data elements, and even entire panels and charts, can be dropped from the Iron Speed Designer toolbox onto the layout spreadsheet. Since Iron Speed Designer understands the relationships in the underlying database, no programming is required.
Since the tool includes a wide variety of professionally-designed page styles, you won't need a graphic designer to make your Web applications look good. You can customize these styles, or create your own to maintain your standard corporate look and feel. One significant advantage of these tools is they frequently add a bevy of sophisticated features to your application that would have taken weeks or months to build by hand. These features give your application a level of polish lacking in most custom applications. Reporting, data import and export and application security are commonly included features. For example, you can export formatted data directly to Microsoft Excel for further analysis and reporting, as shown in the figure below.
Application Generation Yields Huge Savings
How well does the application generation process work? An analysis of Iron Speed customer applications indicates they save an average of 19 person weeks and $37,000 of development costs per application. In short, these tools could pay for themselves in one application.
Even non-developers can build applications in just a few hours or days, rather than weeks and months, all without programming. Individuals, and small teams of just a few people, can out-produce entire development teams. Moreover, corporate managers don't have to pay steep internal transfer costs, which are frequently charged by their regular development organizations. Some key benefits of application-generation tools include:
- Reduced software development costs. Applications can be developed and deployed faster and more efficiently with less cost in human resources. Proof-of-concept systems can be rapidly built, feedback gathered, and quickly modified.
- Consistent look and feel. Generated applications have highly consistent and professionally designed user interfaces, giving applications a finished look and feel, even at the prototype stage. A consistent look and feel across applications reduces end-user learning curves when assimilating new applications.
- Simplified application maintenance. Generated applications follow a highly consistent architecture, allowing any developer to maintain any application. There is little or no ‘ramp up' time necessary for one developer to maintain another developer's application because the architectural knowledge transfers from one application to another.
While traditional software developers may believe that machine-generated applications can't possibly be as good as their own hand-written code, in most cases upper management will opt for quick standardized development at minimal cost rather than pay for time-consuming customized perfectionism. The time and cost savings of application generation tools are simply too significant to ignore, and most functional area managers prefer solutions that make their end-users productive and satisfied as quickly as possible.
Many of us hardened programming veterans remember the cumbersome fourth generation languages (4GLs) of the 70s and 80s, which were advertised as bringing in the new age of programmer free application development. We also remember the second phase of 4GLs, released in the 90s, that focused on end-user development and many times created more problems than they solved. Thus, we may be reluctant to even consider the "new and improved" application generation tools. But, like the modern tools found in home improvement stores, improved technology has brought many application development tools that simply make the job easier. If you would like information on one of the most current application generation tools, you may want to visit http://www.ironspeed.com, or other similar Web sites, that can further explain how these tools can help you increase your credibility and performance as a professional application developer.
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
May. 27, 2016 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,168
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
May. 27, 2016 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,087
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
May. 27, 2016 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,988
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
May. 27, 2016 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,156
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discuss how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. We'll cite examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He'll also highlight how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable...
May. 27, 2016 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,820
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? How do you coordinate the diverse moving parts that must come together when developing your IoT product? What are the key challenges addressed by Data as a Service? How does cloud computing underlie and connect the notions of Digital and DevOps What is the impact of the API economy? What is the business imperative for Cognitive Computing? Get all these questions and hundreds more like them answered at the 18th Cloud Expo...
May. 27, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,219
SYS-CON Events announced today that EastBanc Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EastBanc Technologies has been working at the frontier of technology since 1999. Today, the firm provides full-lifecycle software development delivering flexible technology solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing systems – whether on premise or cloud. EastBanc Technologies partners with p...
May. 27, 2016 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,224
SYS-CON Events announced today Object Management Group® has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
May. 27, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,399
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
May. 27, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,109
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
May. 27, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,298
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 18th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
May. 27, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,334
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
May. 27, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,893
What a difference a year makes. Organizations aren’t just talking about IoT possibilities, it is now baked into their core business strategy. With IoT, billions of devices generating data from different companies on different networks around the globe need to interact. From efficiency to better customer insights to completely new business models, IoT will turn traditional business models upside down. In the new customer-centric age, the key to success is delivering critical services and apps wit...
May. 27, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,130
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
May. 27, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,371
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, will provide an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life ...
May. 27, 2016 07:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,931
As cloud and storage projections continue to rise, the number of organizations moving to the cloud is escalating and it is clear cloud storage is here to stay. However, is it secure? Data is the lifeblood for government entities, countries, cloud service providers and enterprises alike and losing or exposing that data can have disastrous results. There are new concepts for data storage on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive data around the world. ...
May. 27, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,280
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business managers to a full-scale mobile software company with over 200 develope...
May. 27, 2016 06:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,554
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, will discuss the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to fo...
May. 27, 2016 05:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,496
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device. For more information, please visit https://www.mangoapps.com/.
May. 27, 2016 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 738
SYS-CON Events announced today TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget is the Web’s leading destination for serious technology buyers researching and making enterprise technology decisions. Its extensive global networ...
May. 27, 2016 04:45 AM EDT Reads: 3,148