updated 06:45 pm EDT, Tue August 19, 2008
WaveMaker instant web apps
The folks at WaveMaker think big, calling their Visual Ajax Studio 4.0 web app development tool "a fundamental breakthrough" -- and they may just be right. In a demonstration for MacNN it took about three minutes to build a simple database web app -- something that traditionally takes a team of developers to manage the complex weaving of web and server functions. This could be especially good news for the growing number of Mac Developers, since WaveMaker is browser-based. The company says it works just as well on Safari as it does on Microsoft Internet Explorer -- in fact it works better on Safari.
"This is the democratization of Web Computing," said WaveMaker CEO Chris Keene. "Web Developers can use our Visual Studio to build point-and-click web applications without having to know a single Web 2.0 acronym," he said. The company is targeting individual developers and small-to-medium businesses looking for lower-cost alternatives to the traditional development process.
WaveMaker VIsual Studio is an open-source application and Keene says his team built it using other open source tools including MySql and Dojo. The idea was to create a simple, fast way to create Web apps -- in much the same way FileMaker has been used for years to create conventional database applications.
The company says it has seen a sharp increase in downloads since announcing support for the Mac earlier this year. At mid-day on Tuesday, the company said it had about 2800 downloads so far that day -- of which about 2500 were for the Mac. Keene says there appears to be a "pent-up demand" for web app development software for the Mac, and his company hopes to meet it.
Version 4.0 includes one-click data-aware forms for database creation, a built-in "oops button" for undoing mistakes, and auto-discovery of web services to simplify work with WSDL. Wavemaker's MVC and Binding interfaces are similar to Apple's Xcode. Developers can choose to install either the PostgreSQL open source database or EnterpriseDB's Postgres Plus distribution when they install Wavemaker.
The company promises true WYSIWYG Web 2.0 development -- with drag-and-drop assembly of Ajax widgets, web services and databases. The application comes with built-in Java and web server. Specially designed interface skins using the Dojo toolkit give applications a "mac-like" look. Sample applications are also included.
Wavemaker Visual Ajax Studio 4.0 is available as a free download for the open source license version. Commercial versions range in price from $600-$8000, depending on configuration. The application requires an Intel Mac running OS X 10.5 or higher, Safari 3.1 or Firefox 2.0 or higher, and also runs on many Windows machines.