AJAX made easier down under

WebOS AppsBuilder allows AJAX developers to program in familiar languages

Seeing a need to make AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) Web development easier, Tasmania, Australia-based Morfik later this year plans to offer Version 1.0 of WebOS AppsBulder, an IDE that lets developers program in familiar languages.

The AJAX-based product features a visual designer and cross-compiling capabilities for programming in C#, Java, Visual Basic, and Object Pascal. An embeddable Firebird database and Apache Web server also are included for application deployments. With WebOS AppsBuilder, Morfik saves developers from having to learn new languages for Web development such as PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) or Python.

"What this product does is it gives them a doorway into the Web world," said Fuad Ta'eed, business development manager at Morfik and a developer of WebOS AppsBuilder.

"It has a cross-compiler, you write in your object-oriented languages that you're familiar with and it will generate the Web-based application, the HTML, the Web server, the whole lot," Ta'eed said. Web services provide for internal communications within the product.

Beta user Mike Kerner, IT director at manufacturer R.M. Kerner, raved about WebOS AppsBuilder. "It is a very neat tool simply because it allows me to build AJAX-type applications without having to know a lot about Perl and PHP and other server-side tools," Kerner said.

Additionally, the product enables development of applications that can function while disconnected from the Internet and be reconnected later, said Kerner. At this juncture, though, Kerner is awaiting improvements such as code completion.

Morfik's product is available in an enterprise-level, US$4,995 Professional edition, which enables access to large external systems such as databases, and a free, lower-level Express edition.

Morfik first was unveiled at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco last year. The imminent arrival of its product follows closely the debut of the Flapjax programming language, another offering intended to make AJAX easier. But Flapjax lacks some of the functionality of WebOS AppsBuilder, Kerner said.

"Flapjax is more of a language much the way Ruby would be another language. It does not have the niceties yet. I don't know if [it will have] the graphical layout tools," and database connectivity like WebOS AppsBuilder, Kerner said.

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