Enterprise application developers are finding that there is a lot more to RAD (Rapid Application Development) than just development; there are also the concepts of rapid coding, provisioning and deployment.
Those added requirements have created a conundrum for enterprise developers, especially those that focus only on creating applications and leave the provisioning and delivery of those applications to IT managers.
Thanks to multiplatform requirements, mobility initiatives and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy adoption, the way applications are created and delivered to users must undergo a significant workflow change.
After all, developers do not have the bandwidth to create separate applications for the various platforms (Windows, iOS, Android, etc.) that they must now support and IT no longer has the resources to manually deliver those diverse applications to the various platforms that have spread through the enterprise.
RAD Platform-as-a-Service company WaveMaker may very well have the solution to those nagging problems that haunt developers, such as deployment, complicated DevOps, and multiple target environments.
WaveMaker has built that solution in the form of WaveMaker Enterprise, an enterprise level Web application development platform that incorporates design, RAD, deployment, and integrates version control into a slick package that can be installed on site as a virtual appliance or used via the PaaS model, which requires no on-premise installation or configuration.
Simply put, WaveMaker Enterprise puts the “rapid” into both development and deployment.
While there are dozens, if not hundreds of RAD tools out on the market, WaveMaker Enterprise is truly able to distinguish itself from the competition by employing some very unique concepts, technologies and techniques that promise to change how enterprise developers think about building and deploying applications.
Perhaps the most impressive part of WaveMaker Studio comes down to how applications are deployed. The company has created a one-click deployment methodology that delivers applications via Docker Containers, a Linux based operating abstraction technology that offers many of the benefits of virtualized application delivery, without the overhead of operating systems and hypervisors.
While tomes could be written about Docker Containers and the benefits they offer it best here to just say that WaveMaker has adopted a forward-looking strategy by leveraging Docker Containers.
Nonetheless, rapid deployment is only one part of the triad that makes WaveMaker Enterprise a likely candidate for those developing Web applications. The other two pieces of the WaveMaker Enterprise puzzle come in the form of development and integration.
The development portion of WaveMaker Enterprise falls under the auspices of WaveMaker Studio, an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that incorporates RAD processes. However, WaveMaker Studio does not operate in a vacuum. It is surrounded by what is known as the Enterprise Developer Network (EDN) which is a Web-based GUI that integrates management of the development process with a project centric approach that incorporates a measure of social collaboration.
From the EDN, developers can define and create multi-developer projects, manage access to projects and keep participants informed on the progress of all concurrent projects. Clicking on the Studio tab launches the WaveMaker Studio application to enable users to start working on an application project.
The IDE/RAD tool set offered by WaveMaker Studio is impressive. From within the IDE, developers can quickly design pages, tables, forms and so on using drag and drop tools. While those capabilities are expected in most any RAD tool, WaveMaker goes one step further by incorporating database controls as well.
Using WaveMaker Studio, developers can quickly layout the UI and then populate it with data variables available from the database. WaveMaker provides widgets, which are snippets of predefined controls/functions to create a page design.
Widgets can be used to define Boolean logic controls (such as check boxes) that can drive form entry. Other widgets encompass capabilities such as dialogs, fields and so forth. However, WaveMaker also includes an impressive array of charting widgets, which can be used to quickly create graphs, charts or other visual representations of data.
So with just a few mouse clicks, developers can build input forms, screen based reports, charts, graphs and pretty much any other UI driven element that offers responsive capabilities.
WaveMaker Brings RAD to the Cloud With One Click Deployment
Also included are device screen emulators that show an accurate representation of how a page would appear on a particular device, such as a tablet, smartphone or PC. In other words, WaveMaker Studio includes the design elements needed to create “responsive” design applications so a developer only needs to create a single UI, which can then be translated across multiple devices, using WaveMaker’s “SmartLayout” extension.
Another significant element of WaveMaker Studio is the DBD (Database Designer), which gives developers the ability to create database layouts and tables visually. Once again, drag and drop tools are used to put together database schemas, which can then be used with the IDE to prototype application operations.
DBD can also import existing database schemas, allowing developers to work with predefined databases as well. Any database schema created with DBD can be quickly exported along with the application, allowing a fresh database to be created with the application, if necessary.
While the RAD functionality offered by WaveMaker Studio’s IDE should meet most any developer’s needs, there are a few nuances that developers need to be aware of. First and foremost is the quality of the code, which is generated as a Maven project using standard technologies, such as Java, Spring, Hibernate and AngularJS.
What that actually means is that the code created by WaveMaker Studio is fully compatible and can be deployed as a WAR file on most any Java Framework built to support AngularJS.
While that level of compatibility is welcome, developers will be truly impressed with the ability to concurrently work with the generated code using external IDEs, such as Eclipse, all without defeating the functionality of WaveMaker Studio. Simply put, the code remains compatible with WaveMaker Studio, allowing developers unprecedented freedom with application coding and design.
As mentioned before, WaveMaker Enterprise can be thought of as a triad of capabilities—Development, Deployment and Integration. The last piece of the triad puzzle comes in the form of integration, which can mean different things to different people.
In WaveMaker’s case, Integration comes down to leveraging APIs, which can be used to tie dissimilar applications together using integration components housed within an API. WaveMaker Studio easily ties a service variable to any API for convenient use within your application.
Most development tools leave the integration element to third party or external tool sets, often requiring a different group of coders/developers to build APIs based upon specs provided to them.
WaveMaker Enterprise takes a different approach and incorporates a fully integrated API generation system that leverages the power of WaveMaker Studio’s IDE and incorporates RAD techniques.
WaveMaker’s API designer uses select and click to quickly drill down through the various elements that deal with application data. Simply put, if a developer wants to create an API that gives access to a certain subset of information or returns a value to another application, the developer can quickly select the associated processes and publish those as an API. What’s more, the developer can also define the availability, limiting it to Application Only, Private, Public or unavailable to all external sources, which gives an additional level of security.
WaveMaker is focused at responsive Web apps. Unfortunately, there’s no OAuth support, which is a technology used to share credentials across applications, without exposing a user’s password. It would also be great to have the option to generate native apps as well, but they say that’s coming.
WaveMaker Enterprise effectively combines the three most important aspects of web application development—design, integration and deployment—into a comprehensive platform that is both easy to use and yet flexible enough for even the most seasoned developers to adopt. What’s more, the product’s API consumption driven applications offer additional power that even non-developers can leverage using Prefabs.
Also, WaveMaker’s usage of Docker Containers for deployment bring unprecedented simplicity to application delivery for most any enterprise, perhaps saving countless hours spent on manually deploying Web applications using traditional methods.
That level of simplification also extends to database design, API integration, as well as application development, which leverage the latest in RAD concepts by incorporating responsive design tools to support multiple device consumption.
Other notable capabilities include the Enterprise Developer Network, which brings multi-developer RAD, project management and social developer engagement to the forefront of application design.