Answering Nathans question first. Without going into vendor mode, I need to
explain a little technology history here. There is quite a bit of info here,
but it is important to set the context quite clearly.



We build analysis & reengineering technologies for legacy enterprise
applications. The whole point of our tools is to improve the maintainability
of an application. So anything we generate should have that quality and be
mainstream enough to have well supported IDE's. In our latest version apart
from rebuilding the data I/O and business logic as reusable OO classes in
the MVC pattern from the extracted legacy designs and exposing these layers
as web-services, we also create the view and controller layer from extracted
UI formats and relevant program logic, essentially rewriting the
application. Clean code, no redundancy and MVC and real OO, no emulation. Oh
and not procedural.



Even with light frameworks such as spring, and using JSF and MVC design
patterns, the UI maintenance task for the sort of enterprise applications
that are typical on IBM i is quite high. Even with ASPx and EGL this is
true. The perspective is for companies to be able to truly modernize their
applications but not rewrite manually or reinvent the wheel. One of the
biggest problems historically has been IDE productivity. Aaron will recall
dialog with Genuitec and the iTeam J a couple of years ago. Currently we
generate Java, EGL and C#. To combat this problem we built three rendering
technologies over the last 10 years. Aaron you know about one of these I
think. The concept is to store the UI definition in database file or
resource file on the server. The server program then tells the rendering
technology which screen to render and it retrieves how to build the screen
and get data etc from the screen definition and renders it accordingly. We
wrote this as a servlet version, a JSP/JSF version and a pure GWT version
for the web, and a PC version using SWT. Each came with a designer for
editing the underlying screen definition tables/files. There are a few ISV's
and end user companies that love it, but it's not something we are pursuing
any longer. Aaron/Nathan you can have whatever code you want out of this for
your projects if it's of any use.



We ultimately abandoned these rendering technologies, despite having sunk
about 2 million pounds into them, because we realized that we would have to
compete with Visual Studio, Oracle, MyEclipse and all the other IDE editors.
But our customers still have the problem of screen maintenance. Not because
of the quality of code we generate, its clean its OO its event driven and
looks like code someone who was very well trained in modern languages would
do. It's just that the technologies of web 2.0 are not productive.



Flex changes all this. In a few simple lines you can define incredibly rich,
good looking and robust UI's. Also SAP just rewrote their entire UI layer in
Flex. That prompted us to look at it much more closely and we realized it
was the answer to our prayers. Hence my question, if anyone is still reading
J


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