Today's focus: JackBe nimble with AJAX and business
By Mark Gibbs
An example of a contender in the AJAX market that has recognized that the value to enterprises lies in offering more than a tool kit is JackBe with its NQ Suite .
First, let's look at its technology: JackBe provides a complete suite for developing AJAX applications and as the company's architecture diagrams show, JackBe is a bridge between the client-side and the server-side presentation logic (why don't more companies take the time to draw useful architectural diagrams as JackBe has - well done chaps!).
On top of the client-side Core Service sit two service modules, and the JackBe Markup Language ( JBML ).
JBML provides "XML-based, declarative GUI programming" that is created using the JackBe Visual GUI Builder and Integrated Development Environment (IDE) under MSIE in which JackBe applications are created. JackBe-created applications talk either to the JBML subsystem or the JackBe API . The API allows you to program events such as widget instantiation, data population, and property manipulation as well as server communications requests, data validation, and DOM query and manipulation.
On top of the JBML and API layers sit the JackBe Widgets . The Basic Widget library provides the usual components such as buttons, labels, forms, text fields, radio buttons, check boxes, option menus, navigation controls and page layout, while the Advanced Widgets include searchable data tables, calendar controls, drag and drop support, charts and graphs, sliders and spreadsheets.
The final layer in JackBe's architecture is the AJAX application.
JackBe offers a couple of guided demos
and you can check out what its customers have used the system for .
Now the other part of the equation: What JackBe offers above and beyond a toolkit. As the company points out, there are more than 70 major players in the AJAX development market and many of the tools are open source and free. This means that the tools alone are of minimal value but if businesses intend that AJAX-based business applications are going be cost-effective then they need much more than tools.
As a result, JackBe offers a complete solution-oriented service that is based on definable client business projects that combine JackBe's tool kit with consulting and performance goals.
This is one of the more sophisticated approaches to the AJAX market and is much more in line with enterprise goals than the adoption of a tool kit because JackBe recognizes that what is needed isn't just technology but return on development.