Meeting 28/11/2013: Development frameworks and tools

On the next meeting on the 28th November 2013, kindly hosted by InterSystems Benelux at the Crown Plaza hotel in Antwerp, we will focus on third-party development frameworks and tools for Caché. You can find the agenda and register for this meeting on the website of InterSystems Benelux. Participation to the user group and meetings is free of charge!

We will show you how to develop an application that runs cross-browser on a Caché database using the most recent web-technologies and also the tools for debugging your Caché applications, control all changes to your application when working in team, …

The most important question when you want to develop an application with Caché is these days what tools to use for the user interface. Basically there are two approaches:

Client-server

When you want to go client server, Caché offers a lot of options due to the broad choice in external connectors:

  • .NET native provider for use with C++, C#, VB, …
  • connection to Delphi
  • Java connector

Client-server has traditionally always had the advantage of running native, however these days this is changing (e.g. for .NET you need a CLR, for Java you run on a JVM, …). So the native advantage is more and more shifting towards intermediate languages, no longer running directly on the underlying hardware.

With client-server, you usually also need to install your application on each client, with all regular updating issues that come with this approach.

Browser-based

But in addition, one of the biggest challenges for developers these days is: how are we going to support all kinds of devices people want to use these days? You have e.g. smartphones, tablets, desktops, … and all these devices run on different operating systems. People also like to use their own (home) devices in company networks (BYOD). If you want to build an application that will run on all these platforms without a lot of modifications, this is not an easy task.

With the recent developments around the HTML5 standard, writing your applications for running in a browser becomes more and more the solution to this problem. But once you start to write applications this way, you’ll stumble on a lot of other challenges:

  • browser pages are loosely coupled to the back-end server
  • HTML is a language for writing documents, not to design a user interface with
  • browser versions
  • different programming languages you have to use for the front-end (HTML, JavaScript) and the back-end (COS, PHP, …)
  • no access to hardware devices on the client by default

However, when you use the right tools for the job, most of these barriers disappear as this browser technology evolves very rapidly and a lot of innovative tools come to market. In particular, technologies like Node.js, Apache Cordova (PhoneGap) are bridging the gap between the browser, the hardware devices on the client and the back-end services. And even more important, they reduce your learning curve to one well-known programming language: JavaScript.

Our meeting will show you tools and how they can solve these problems and show you the most recent technology to build Rich Internet Applications (RIA’s).

Rob Tweed from M/Gateway Developments (UK) is very specialised in this matter and will show you the very latest developments in his EWD framework. See how an application can run in a browser completely in JavaScript, tightly coupled to a Caché back-end using HTML5 Websocket technology.

Development tools for Caché development

The second focus during our meeting will be external development tools for use with Caché. Caché already gives you tools for debugging your application out of the box, Studio source control hooks for working in team, …

John Murray from George James Software (UK) will demonstrate the tools they offer, covering areas such as code editing and debugging, class model visualization, dependency analysis, complexity control and source code management.

Don’t miss this CUG meeting!

This meeting is certainly a “must-attend” for all people using Caché in the Benelux as you will see very interesting recent developments in working with Caché. It can certainly be an eye-opener to consider writing you applications “new style”. You’ll be surprised on what’s possible with Caché these days!

If you already want to read more on this, I can recommend you to read Rob Tweed’s excellent blog.

If you have suggestions for this meeting or comments, please feel free to add a reply below.

Don’t forget to register and see you all the 28th of November in Crown Plaza Antwerp!

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