Review: Deklarit 3.0

DeKlarit 3.0
Chicago, Illinois
(312) 836-9242

DeKlarit is a code generator for Visual Studio .NET (it's well and thoroughly integrated with the VS .NET IDE, feeling like a native part of the environment) that begins by letting you define the structure of your data, not as database tables, but as "business components". Business components can include calculated columns and validation rules, and they don't necessarily need to be completely normalized (for instance, DeKlarit will figure out that it needs to build a linking table to handle m-n relations). From there, you can build out the data to any supported DBMS: Oracle, SQL Server, Access, or SQL Server CE (support for the latter two is new in this version).

Also new in this version is the Business Framework Prototyper. This tool lets you work with your business objects, entering data and seeing how they work together. You can load existing data, filter it, enter new data, follow relationships, and so on. If something doesn't feel right, it's easy to go back and refine your model a bit more.

But that's far from all that DeKlarit can do. After you've built your business objects, it will then build business logic and database access layers for you, in either VB .NET or C#. It uses standard ADO.NET typed DataSets and DataAdapter objects for this. These classes are all well fleshed out with a ton of utility methods. The DeKlarit help will show you how to use these objects as the foundation of your own application.

Or, if you prefer, you can click a few buttons and let DeKlarit generate an application for you. You can get complete ASP.NET or Windows Forms applications. If you own the Infragistics components, this version of DeKlarit adds a Web application generator that can use them, giving you a pretty spiffy user interface. Also new in 3.0 is an application generator for smart devices; this makes DeKlarit the first tool in this category that I know of that tackles the combination of SQL Server CE and the .NET Compact Framework.

There are plenty of other little (and not so little) improvements in this version as well. These include source code control, a templating system that lets you customize application generation, support for .NET remoting and a declarative caching syntax. All in all the ARTech people have done a fine job of helping build line of business applications quickly. You can find more details and a trial download at their Web site.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.


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