Revving up once:radix for RAD Web apps

GUI RAD development moves to the Web

Need to do forms development sans Access or Filemaker? Want rapid Web apps without Ruby on Rails? Want a rich Internet interface and abhor Ajax? Need PostgreSQL development, but don't do PHP? Just want a Java application without the, well, Java? Why not check out the once:radix Web-based RAD environment from once:technologies. And, by the way, did I mention it's open source?

It goes by the name of once:radix, a contraction of develop it once and RAD applications for intranets and extranets.

Last year I reported on the release of once:radix as an open source project under the terms of the GPL.

Rob Napier, once:technologies' managing director, was very pleased with the publicity the article generated at the time, and was keen to have a follow-up piece about the technology written.

I suggested a more in-depth review of once:radix and before I knew it I was participating in an online demonstration of the Web-based RAD environment.

Getting started

For the purpose of this review, I simply logged into once:technologies' demonstration server and proceeded to play around with once:radix.

If you want to download and install the application yourself, grab it from Sourceforge and satisfy its minimal dependencies, namely Java, Apache Tomcat and PostgreSQL.

If not, get in touch with once:technologies and request a demo.

Gotta love Firefox

Once:radix is completely Web-based allowing a level of freedom unprecedented in RAD development environments, which have traditionally relied on a fat client.

Ironically, however, once:radix does depend on the Firefox Web browser to function as intended. Yes Firefox is cross-platform, open source and well supported, but wedding an application to one type of browser is not what the Web is all about. If, for some moronic reason, an organization prohibits the use of Firefox, then what?

I spoke with Rob about this and the company is working to multi-browser compatibility and it's simply a matter of time and resources to make it happen.

In addition to this annoying dependency, once:radix is also a bit finicky when it comes to how Firefox is configured.

The default Firefox configuration for signed.applets.codebase_principal_support needs to be set to "true" and the prefs.js configuration file may need to be reset by the browser.

Again, after the demonstration I spoke with Rob about these issues and the company is looking at what can be done to streamline the user experience here.

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