Startup aims to combine Web design, development

Two-year-old startup Yessoftware Inc. this week made generally available its first product: an application development suite that company officials hope will bring application design and development closer together.

CodeCharge Studio is an IDE (integrated development environment), including wizards, to generate code for database-driven Web applications that also brings database connectivity and multi-platform code-generation capabilities.

"We make it easier for developers and designers because we generate the code," said CEO Konrad Musial.

Musial said that oftentimes when developers are building applications, they start by creating a database.

"We take the approach of letting developers convert the database into an application," Musial said.

The suite supports ColdFusion, Perl, PHP, JSP (JavaServer Pages) and servlets, ASP (Active Server Pages), ASP.Net, as well as Microsoft Corp.'s latest programming language, C#. CodeCharge also features a Visual Studio-like interface.

Musial added that developers can use the tools to drag and drop components for building Web sites or applications and add in or edit HTML code. Furthermore, the XSL (Extensible Stylesheet Language) code generation engine takes the XML or HTML code in a database and pushes it as C#, Perl, or other code into a Web application.

YesSoftware, in San Francisco, is also working with Microsoft and Adobe Systems Inc. to make CodeCharge work with FrontPage and Adobe GoLive, respectively, Musial said.

Other tools vendors are aiming to close the gap between design and development as well. Most recently San Francisco-based Macromedia Inc. announced an upgraded line of its Flash, Dreamweaver, and ColdFusion tools that chief software architect Kevin Lynch said more closely ties design to development because of the tight integration between front-end tools and the back-end scripting server.

But analysts question whether such efforts to meld design and development will come to fruition anytime soon.

"It's split. In some cases, people are just front-end Web designers. But more and more others are having to do it all," said Jay Dixit, an analyst at Evans Data Corp., in Santa Cruz, Calif.

Looking toward the future, Musial said that a forthcoming version will include support for Web services.

"We are working on an enterprise version that will let developers use Web services as a data source, much like a database," Musial said, although he declined to commit to a timeframe for delivering the next version. "By the time there is a real need to use Web services, we'll be ready."

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