Thoughts on how Morfik AppsBuilder 2.0 came to be and where it is going…

Through all of the current decade, application implementations have continuously moved to a web-centric model. Most applications created are now “web-based” even when their sole purpose is to be usage inside a corporate environment. This choice mainly derives from the ease of use of web interfaces, from the familiarity that most users get from using the word wide web, and from the ease of deployment.

Web applications, however, though not difficult to create when very simple in nature become increasingly hard to code when their complexity grows. Most Web related technologies were developed as mechanisms for document definition and not really suited for the development of applications, making some aspects of their use cumbersome. This began to change some years ago with a set of technologies collectively known as Ajax, which allows for a much more sophisticated communication between the code running on the browser and the server. The use of these technologies, however, further complicates the development process requiring extensive specialized knowledge on several different standards (HTML, HTTP, XML, CSS, SOAP, WDSL, etc) from application developers.

Into this scenario came Morfik. Morfik AppsBuilder 1.x was an application development tool that allows developers to create sophisticated Ajax applications without needing to have any knowledge whatsoever of the underlying technologies. The Morfik AppsBuilder 1.x’s Integrated Development Environment (IDE) directly supported several dialects of commonly used programming languages making it easy for many seasoned application developers to have complex web based applications up and running in a very short time. Morfik also makes it possible for these developers to reuse their extensive experience and segments of existing code, instead of having to learn an entirely new set of skills.

Having established an initial position for AppsBuilder as an environment for experienced software developers to create sophisticated Web based applications Morfik moved on to create AppsBuilder 2.0. AppsBuilder moved into previously unexplored country by adding an extensive list of visual design oriented features, making it much easier and simple, as well as much faster, to create a visually compelling Web applications.

At the same time, apparently based on user feedback, Morfik decided to consolidate the number of language syntaxes they supported in Object Pascal (Morfik FX) and Basic (Morfik BX). Both of these languages have been in use in visually oriented development tools for the creation of desktop and client/server applications for well over a decade and thus have large user communities who seem to be very interested in the prospect of having the same kind tools they used to create Windows applications for creating Web applications.

Morfik AppsBuilder 2.0 goes way beyond what you could achieve in the Windows tools, while going out of its way to remain easy to use. I guess the best way to describe the new Morfik IDE is as a MASHUP of Access (for the database creation parts), Delphi (for the programming parts) and PowerPoint 2007 (for the visual design parts). This combination of features from such disparate applications actually yields an amazingly well integrated and easy to use design and development environment.

From my perspective Morfik AppsBuilder is an ideal tool for startup companies to quickly develop their prototypes and take their applications to production. It is also perfectly suited for independent software vendors with its high-performance natively compiled server code and its non-reproducible obfuscation for browser code which combine with a highly productive development environment and a reliable open source (and thus having no licensing costs) relational database server.

Of course, there are many other uses for Morfik AppsBuilder that range from creating plain websites (something which version 2.0 made possible) to fast prototyping applications (even if implemented in other tools due to pre-existing corporate standards).

Morfik has certainly raised the bar for how you design and build highly interactive web applications, with its next generation environment. At a time when even Microsoft haters seem to believe that all development tools need to look and behave like Visual Studio, Morfik takes a totally different direction tightly integrating visual design with application creation and making it all easy to use.

AppsBuilder 2.0 brings some much needed and very refreshing innovation to development tools.

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