Watch out for Morfik 3.0

In a recent post in the official Morfik blog Aram Mirkazemi, Founder and CEO of Morfik, announced that the next major version of Morfik should be released in the second quarter of 2010.  While specific details aren’t yet available, Aram did leave us with a general list of improvements that we can expect to see in Morfik 3.0:

  • Significant improvements to widgets and packages architecture and implementation
  • New controls, as well as enhancements to existing controls
  • Highly-improved continuous editable forms
  • Support for internationalization
  • Support for animation and special graphical effects when controls change state or are moved.
  • Introduction of abstract data source
  • Improvements to the built-in debug browser
  • General bug fixing and improvements in software stability

One area where he have already been showed a peek at what we can expect is that of controls, as some weeks ago another post  in the Morfik blog, this time by Dmitry Medvedev (who in his spare time runs Russia), showed us a menu system that would be available in a future release.  I guess that we  can be confident that it will be in version 3.0.

Posted in M3 | Leave a comment

OpenID integration

Morfik made available yesterday to subscribers of its Morfik Developer Assist (MDA) program a new package for integrating with OpenID providers.  This enables developers to create applications which rely on the services of OpenID compatible authentication to allow access to their applications.

OpenID has been widely adopted by major websites and this should be a nice addition to the tool set of Morfik developers.

Posted in Packages | Leave a comment

Chat/Discussion session for February 2010

It’s time for another round of online chat/discussion sessions on using Morfik and this time around our invitation is in the form of a video.

If you are interested in taking part in one of the sessions, please drop me a line and don’t forget to mention what timezone you are at.

Posted in Chat, MorfikWatch | Leave a comment

Localization coming our way…

In case any of you missed it, there is a new post in the official Morfik blog which provides a peak at a localized application.  In this case its the Morfik Security Package that has been translated into several languages.

While it was not made clear what is the time frame for this feature to become available in a production release of Morfik, it is good to know that Morfik will be providing the basic infrastructure to enable easy application localization.     This is so not only because a good deal of business do have customers and users in many countries but also because there are a lot of developers using Morfik to create web based software products.

While this has never seemed to me to be special target audience for Morfik, the product does lend itself quite well for the creation of web based versions of traditional software applications with its binary back-end and browser code obfuscation.

For the developers of such software localization can be a very real requirement and having to implement it without any tool support isn’t really fun. This is certainly a welcome addition to the tool set available to the Morfik developer.

Posted in Localization | Leave a comment

Deploying Morfik apps to Amazon EC2…

In a recent blog post, Shahram Mirkazemi of Morfik gives an extensive explanation of the first steps required to deploy a Morfik application onto an Amazon EC2 instance.  In his article he uses a Fedora Core 8 base image to get the instance up and running, having chosen to deploy the application as an Apache loadable module on Linux.

It would be interesting to see this article and its follow up piece mirrored for deployment and configuration on Windows based instances.

Posted in Deployment | Leave a comment

Morfik Chats – It was good fun…

I think it was a good experience for everyone that took part in one of the Chat sessions about Morfik. It was good to get to know better some of the people I’ve run across in the Morfik Forums or in the Morfik community at

I hope to have chat sessions with those who have already shown themselves interested in sharing a bit of their experience with other developers and that more people will join with us, in more sessions in the future.

If you missed this first opportunity but would like to participate in the future, drop me a line.  While I did have some information about interface building with Morfik to share, most sessions had great moments of general discussion about Morfik.  Please feel free to suggest topics of interest for future discussions.

Posted in Ajax, Architecture, Visual Design, Websites | 1 Comment

Some Morfik history and background…

Yesterday a good portion of the history of Morfik was detailed in a nice blog post by Shahram Besharati, in the new Morfik Blog.  If you haven’t read it yet, I recommend you do so as it provides a nice perspective on just how committed the people at Morfik are to the idea embodied in the company’s product.

Posted in Websites | Leave a comment

The power of links…

Since Morfik 2.x came out, I’ve had the opportunity to work on several small and one large projects using it.  I also updated a couple of my older projects from Morfik 1.x, adding some of the new effects and replacing the code previously necessary to implement them.

It was just over the past couple of weeks that I really took it upon my self to fully port an existing application to the new Links+URLs philosophy of development and interface building in Morfik 2.x. It is a very different thing to build a small application using these new features and porting an existing application.  If nothing else, the former gives us an opportunity to see how much code we’re making obsolete.

I can tell you that it was a lot of code.  Even though the application was already quite tidy, employing just the essential code necessary to create the functionality an visual effects I wanted for a basic content management system.  A basic application to run a website with variable content, without requiring the application to be recompiled.

In an application with some 12 to 15 Forms combining the use of styles, URLs and Links I was able to remove some 90% of the code related to the interface.  That was some 300 to 400 lines of code.  All made superfluous by publishing some URLs and then setting the Link property for the right controls.

This experience gave me a much better feel for just how useful these new features as it made me really appreciate how much effort they save me.  If you haven’t taken the time to explore URLs and Links, I certainly recommend you do so.

Posted in Ajax, M2, M23, styles | Leave a comment

A menu control finally coming to a Morfik near you?!

A new post that appeared today on the new Morfik blog showcases a menu system that is being developed for the next major version of Morfik.  The lack of an actual menu control has long been one of the most criticized  Morfik “features”, even though it is already possible to build decent menus using the dropdown control.

In fact, Dmitry describes in general terms how the menus are implemented and the dropdown control seems to play a major role in it.  Though we can’t try it out yet, as a sample of pre-pre-release control/system I would say that this one gets an A. :-)

Posted in Widgets | Leave a comment

On-line discussion sessions

I was amazed by the response to my invitation to share some experiences through an on-line session/discussion.  I’ll wait a couple more days for any stragglers and then I’ll be getting in touch with everyone that showed interest in participating so that we can setup these discussions in away that the time of day is reasonable to all involved.  :-)  Being part of a community with members from all around the globe certainly is nice, but it does have its drawbacks, timezone differences being one of the biggest I can think off.

Posted in MorfikWatch | Leave a comment

Morfik blogs on the move…

If you missed this so far, you might want to look into Morfik’s new blog website.  It seems that the people at Morfik will be posting with some regularity, as there have been four posts since the start of the year.

This means that the Morfik community will have another channel of communication with Morfik developers and if it should be a really good thing if they do really get into writing.  If you haven’t checked the blog out yet, please do so and cheer them on so that we can have more information, sooner about what they are up to.

Posted in Websites | Leave a comment

Gather around the Morfik water cooler…

As we start a new year, I feel we should try out new things.  MorfikWatch has been up and running for over a year now, and I’d like to make the interaction between the blog and its readers more dynamic and foster more direct interaction among Morfik users.
To start this out I was thinking of doing a voice and screen presentation/discussion about the design features of Morfik, aka “how to make your application look good”. :-)
If you are interested participating, please let me know by sending me a message.  It would be important to know where you are, specially what timezone as readership seems to be pretty much scattered all over the planet.

UPDATE: I had some problems when I created this email account on gMail and it is was not working properly.  This is solved now and the account seems to be working okay. As soon as I noticed this I pulled the article from the blog.  Sorry for the inconvenience of any returned emails.

We can call this the modern day version of  the conversation around the water cooler.
I’m looking at the possibility of setting up other on-line sessions with other presenters, covering a variety of  topics about Morfik development, deployment, hosting, etc…   Have you got any interesting ideas or suggestions?
Posted in MorfikWatch | Leave a comment

A great 2010 for Morfik and for all of us…

We are reaching the end of a year which saw a lot of evolution in Morfik.  The intermediate releases of the 2.1 and 2.2 series brought out a number of new features and helped other features more fully mature.  This month, with the start of the 2.3 branch we see Morfik turning to what is a purely bug fixing stance, which I believe is a good and necessary step to consolidating the feature set which is already present in 2.x.

While I have no idea what the long term planning at Morfik is, I do feel that we should have a couple more bug fix releases before moving on to another cycle of new feature release.  Starting from the foundation that is Morfik 2.x, Morfik should be in for a great 2010, if they can avoid the trap of going to far, too soon.  Morfik 2.x is a giant leap forward from 1.x in terms of both usability and productivity and it is going to be tough coming up with a similar leap for 3.0, so I hope they don’t even try to match that.

All things considered, it has been a good year for working with Morfik.  I have engaged in a couple of projects both personal and commercial which are totally done in Morfik and I’ve been very happy with the results I’ve gotten, but I hope to get even better results with whatever comes out of Morfik in 2010.

While 2009 saw fifty four (54) posts on MorfikWatch, I hope that this number will get much higher in 2010. I’ve started working on a couple of projects which I’m hoping will work out well and allow me to provide more value to the readers of MorfikWatch. I’ll have to see how they evolve to see which will see the light of day.

In the mean time, I’d like to thank all of you that keep returning to MorfikWatch and wish you a great new year.  Let’s hope that 2010 will be great new year for Morfik and for all of us…

Posted in M2, MorfikWatch | 2 Comments

New update available for Morfik

The latest release of Morfik came out with a couple of small, but show stopping, bugs. These issues which affected how popup Forms were displayed, and how pure browser and Linux applications were compiled.

The overall impact was a total show stopper for anyone developing a static website or an application for deployment to a Linux server and so Morfik rushed to correct these problems and release an update as soon as it was too possible.  This update comes in the shape of a patch that has to be applied over a previous installation of Morfik FX, BX or CX

The patch is fairly small at around 7 MB in size and pretty much mandatory for everyone as it also fixes a couple of issues that were introduced in regarding the usage of continuous Forms in a popup and an old standing issue with the repositioning of the navigator when forms are resized horizontally.  This patch will update your Morfik to build

Posted in M2, M23 | Leave a comment

Christmas present for Morfik users: A new build ( is available

Morfik has released build just in time for it to make good Christmas gift. :-) I have certainly been eagerly expecting this new build, which  is bug fix release with a few small incremental improvements.

Among these fixes is one that is particularly dear to my heart which corrects a problem with the refresh method of lookup combo boxes.  This particular issue had me doing an annoying workaround to get the desired “chained” combos behavio so that a list of cities is updated depending on which state the user selected.

Also among the enhancements and bug fixes are improvements in handling incorrectly formatted XML as to minimize the possibility of exceptions when parsing XML returned from another application.  It is now also possible to consume Morfik generated XML in NuSOAP (PHP) server implementations.

Its great to see that Morfik is testing compatibility with other SOAP and Web Service implementations. Though implementing a standard should be all that is necessary to ensure you can interact with all players in the market, in truth it isn’t as there are always subtle differences in implementations that might cause problems.  Interoperability with other SOAP implementations is very important and it is one area where I hope to see more testing and development from Morfik.  While my own applications are generally entirely implemented in Morfik, there are countless situations when introducing a new application into an existing corporate environment where the knowledge that you can interact with other systems is priceless.

Posted in M2, M23, Web Services | Leave a comment

Process Orchestration with Morfik

The ease with which you can create an appealing Web based application interface with Morfik makes it an ideal tool for rapid prototyping.  It is possible to go from scratch to a full application interface in the space of a few hours.

When you combine this with the ability to easily import Web Services you have the makings of what could become a powerful tool for process orchestration.  Morfik makes it very easy for you to write your own Web Services and tends to make the usage of third party Web Services. These capabilities can combine to make it a prime environment for putting creating applications that provide the glue for creating useful applications out of Service Components.

I am quite confident that the same team that made Morfik a great visual design environment for creating sophisticated interfaces could surprise us with the ability to visually design the interaction of Web Services with one another and with the application’s browser side components.   This would move Morfik one step closer to enabling even non-developers to create useful Web applications.

A project I’m currently engaged in, makes extensive usage of Web Services and is actually divided into several different Morfik Web Application projects.  Many times while implementing some functionality in this project I wished Morfik had the orchestration features of specialized Business Process Management (BPM) tools.  When using specialized BPM tools I always wish I could be easily tying the processes to an interface that that was designed with Morfik instead of looking like they were done by first week Web developers from 1995.

This is not the first time that these thoughts have occurred to me, as I remember writing a post about it back in January.  Perhaps if I keep coming back to this topic, my dream will become a reality in a future Morfik X release.

NOTE: Yes German, I know.  There is an issue to be solved with importing WSDL files which contain definitions for more than one Web Service. ;-)

Posted in Architecture, SOA, Web Services | 2 Comments

Making the case for anonymous methods

I don’t know about you, but I make a lot of use of WebMethods when developing a less than trivial Morfik application.  WebMethods are extremely useful and actually quite easy to use, once you’ve got the hang of it. Depending on how much and what kind of information you want to exchange between your browser and server code, it can as simple as just invoking the RunWebMethod procedure.

One thing always leaves me with the feeling that I’m missing something, though.  When you are using a Web Method from an imported Web Service, or even one of your own that requires more and more complex parameters, you end up having to use a callback to handle the method’s return.  I have no problem with the concept there, but the implementation could be easier to write.  Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just type your code for handling the method’s return in line with the method invocation?

Just about every major programming language in use today implements anonymous functions and/or anonymous methods.  I think this would be a nice addition to Morfik.  This kind of construct is already defined in the C# language and Microsoft implements it in its implementation of Basic for .Net.  The Delphi language which is the most used implementation of Object Pascal, today, has also added support for this construct. This means that a syntax is already defined and could be adopted, for all the languages Morfik supports, in a future release of the product.

Considering the innovative ways in which the Morfik R&D team approaches such issues I wouldn’t be surprised if they came out with several other clever uses for this feature once it was implemented.

Posted in BX, CX, Delphi, FX, Programming, Web Services | 1 Comment

Setting somethings straight…

It was recently called to my attention that some people might have an incorrect perception of my relationship with Morfik, so I thought it would be best to make sure everyone got the correct information.

While I did work with Morfik as an advisor and then for Morfik, under contract, for a period close to two years, I no longer have any sort of affiliation with that company.  While at Morfik I worked on some of the business planning, product features design, IDE design and the documentation.  Today I am an active Morfik user.  I use Morfik daily in the construction of two websites and a complex corporate dashboard, multi-application, project.

The fact that called my attention to this possible confusion was that in posting a comment to a blog post I logged into WordPress with an account that was created while I was working for Morfik and which still had the email address listed in its profile.  This lead to the original poster to have thought that I still had some affiliation with Morfik. I have corrected that profile, but it occurred to me that other people might, also, have gotten such an impression.

I am quite proud of having had the privilege to be a part of  a team with such talented professionals as those in the Morfik team.  While at Morfik, I got to know a lot of good people and made great friends.  This however, has nothing to do with with what I write about Morfik.  If I did not believe that Morfik is a great product or if I didn’t use it my self, I wouldn’t write about it.

Unfortunately, due to communications difficulties, created by geography, Morfik being in Australia and me being in Brazil, I had no choice but to stop working for the company.  Since then, because I like the product and because I believe in what that team can accomplish, I’ve set my self to organizing communities of users and writing this blog.  I’ve recently, also, become more active in posting to the Morfik forums as I have been spending a good portion of my time working in actual development.

I hope this information makes my relationship with Morfik clear to everyone.

Posted in MorfikWatch | Leave a comment

Interface Building with Morfik: A Treeview like interface sample

In another recent article about interface building I mentioned that it is not difficult to create a treeview-like interface with Morfik, primarily through visual design.   As an example I used a few screenshots from an application that I have been working on but for which I cannot make the source code available.

In order to help anyone that wants to build something similar I created a small sample project that just implements this single feature.  The following picture shows what the sample looks like.

This sample is available for download in all three languages supported in Morfik AppsBuilder 2.2, through the following links:
This is the first time I have used Morfik FX 2.2 to create projects in the other two languages.  If you have any problem using either the Basic or C# version of the project with Morfik BX or CX, please let me know so that I can look into it.
UPDATED:  There really is no need for the Tree nodes to have the border around them.  How they look is entirely up to your creativity.  I kind of did it this way, in automatic mode, because in my applications I need to have this area well defined as I change the background color for each node based on certain business rules.  
Posted in BX, CX, Database, FX, M22, Visual Design | Leave a comment

Interface building with Morfik: The database is your friend…

Morfik AppsBuilder is pretty much built around the concept of a data-driven application.  If you can get a specific information set out of the database, you should be able to present it with class in a Morfik application.

Though I’ve written a thing or two about this topic in the past, I can’t stress enough that sometimes it is just quicker and better to do some coding in the database layer of your application.  Sometimes a short stored procedure, which can be written in five minutes will not only yield the desired results but will do so a lot faster than a highly complex query which will take you over an hour to build in the visual designer.

Stored Procedures also offer you the opportunity to return special values for rows which would not otherwise be returned by your base query.

Several times, I’ve been asked about the availability of a menu control in Morfik.  I mean… How is it ever possible to create a menu without a menu control??? Well… There are several different ways to do it, some faster, others more flexible.  Some are even immediate.  The more observant of you might have already imagined that with a little bit of reformatting that hierarchical representation from my previous post can be made into a vertical menu of the type you quite frequently see used in website navigation.

In order to make a horizontal menu with drop down submenus you can use the new Dropdown control. This is, in fact, used in Morfik’s What’s New page with great looking results. Do you feel you need to create a menu with more sub levels than that?  Well, it is possible and easy to do so, using the same Dropdown control, however, I would advise you to revise your design ideas as they might be headed more towards a DOS application than a Web one.

It is not that I don’t think that Morfik AppsBuilder could have a menu control or a specialized menu editor.  I do however believe that it is much better go ahead and build a good looking menu in a couple of minutes with the available resources and move on to other parts of my application than to dwell on why is it that Morfik R&D hasn’t spent a couple of months building a such a menu designer yet.

Morfik’s database oriented design has helped me create several reasonably complex applications with very little coding. It does however require that you give some thought as to how you are going to divide up your pages into forms as each form can have its own data source.  It is, in fact, quite common for you to end up building a single page from a large number of small forms, each responsible for retrieving some bit of information and displaying it in the most appropriate manner.

For example, the page you see displayed in the Morfik Debug Browser in the following picture is the end result of combining together seven different forms.  I’ve placed red lines, roughly indicating where each of the forms comes in.

This is a screenshot of a test version of an application I’ve worked on recently and using totally bogus test data which tends to leave a lot of blank space in the page, but it should allow you to have some idea of how the structure for the page was created.

Whenever you think you’ve hit a show stopper in creating your Morfik application, take a step back and reconsider the problem.  Most of the time it turns out that there is a simple solution for your problem if you just approach it from a different angle.

Posted in Architecture, Database, M22, Visual Design | 1 Comment