By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2004-02-19 Print this article Print

Unlike Curl, DreamFactory is a brand-new player in the rich Internet application space. The company is less than a year old, and DreamFactory Enterprise (despite its 6.0 status) is the first version of the product. Although it is a newcomer, DreamFactory Enterprise, which shipped last month, has a lot of strengths and could be an attractive option for companies looking for an easy-to-use environment for building Web-service-aware rich Internet applications.

See eWEEK Labs review of Curl Client/Web Platform 3.0.

The DreamFactory Professional application for building and editing applications took a little getting used to, and some of its unusual interface quirks will probably confuse those who are accustomed to more traditional visual development environments. But once we became familiar with the interface, we found it to be one of the most intuitive and simple-to-use tools weve ever seen for visually creating simple applications.

Using this environment, we could build a wide assortment of applications in little time, some in less than an hour. DreamFactory Enterprise made it easy to visually build an application and offers many helpful shortcuts for adding script actions to the objects and integrating with Web services.

Another feature we liked very much was the ability to use either JavaScript or VBScript in our DreamFactory applications. This is a big bonus because anyone building these applications most likely has skills in one or the other. DreamFactory applications also do a good job integrating rich multimedia content.

Like the Curl run-time client, the DreamFactory run-time client is lightweight and can be deployed to clients through ActiveX or installed as a plug-in. It works with IE and Netscape/Mozilla, but, more important, it also works on Netscape/Mozilla on Mac OS X. However, like Curl, DreamFactory lacks a Linux or Unix client.

Like Curl, DreamFactory applications can be deployed easily from any Web server. There is a 30-day evaluation period when applications can be deployed and tested without a valid license certificate on the server. After that, licensing costs start at $25 per connected user per month, or 15-user workgroup packages at $3,000 per year. Thirty-person department packages cost $5,500 per year.

eWEEK Labs Director Jim Rapoza can be reached at jim_rapoza@ziffdavis.com.

Jim Rapoza, Chief Technology Analyst, eWEEK.For nearly fifteen years, Jim Rapoza has evaluated products and technologies in almost every technology category for eWEEK. Mr RapozaÔÇÖs current technology focus is on all categories of emerging information technology though he continues to focus on core technology areas that include: content management systems, portal applications, Web publishing tools and security. Mr. Rapoza has coordinated several evaluations at enterprise organizations, including USA Today and The Prudential, to measure the capability of products and services under real-world conditions and against real-world criteria. Jim Rapoza's award-winning weekly column, Tech Directions, delves into all areas of technologies and the challenges of managing and deploying technology today.

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