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ClearNova Revamps RAD Platform with AJAX

ClearNova this week introduced ThinkCAP JX, a rapid application development platform that allows developers to build intuitive Web-based applications.

The RAD platform now features Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, a set of programming techniques that help create apps that act on data as soon as the user enters it. ThinkCAP JX updates portions of a page while users are online, so they don’t have to constantly refresh the entire page or open several pages to complete one task. The AJAX framework’s core consists of prototype.js and script.aculo.us, two open-source AJAX libraries. With ThinkCAP JX, developers code either the client or the server or both.

The platform includes a visual workbench, allowing developers to build visual pages, data binding, AJAX events, navigations, flows, data entry forms, charts and graphs, and reports. The event model programs different aspects of application development, and a page-flow designer provides point-and-click building of application flow. ThinkCAP JX has a set of controls such as menus, outlook bars and accordion controls to build visual apps. It can be integrated with the Eclipse open-source development environment.

ThinkCAP JX consists of nearly 25 open-source standards and projects, including Struts, Hibernate, JUnit, OpenRico, Apache Axis, Apache Commons (Validator, BeanUtils, Collections, Digester, Logging), JavaTidy and Jakarta (Oro, POI and Regexp).

Using the platform, developers can build Web services to more than 60 enterprise platforms, such as Salesforce.com, CICS, Tibco, SAP, Oracle applications and Lotus Notes/Domino. Its runs on Java application servers, including Oracle 10g, BEA Systems WebLogic, IBM WebSphere, JBoss, Tomcat, Jetty and Resin.

Panda Restaurant Group plans on converting all its internal business applications to ThinkCAP JX early next year. It operates 750 Panda Express restaurants in the U.S., and expects to expand to 10,000.

ThinkCAP JX offers one tool that develops applications for both distributed Web applications and traditional client/server requirements, keeping the restaurant’s business logic investments, according to Caleb MitsVotai, Panda’s executive director of development.

“We get all the advantages of a Web application (no client install, highly portable, minimal client footprint) and a client/server interface (rich GUI interface, event driven model, faster response times) in one tool that…promotes code reuse in a component framework,” he says.

A public beta release of ThinkCAP JX is due later this month, and the product’s general release is due by year’s end. Pricing begins at $2,500 for the ThinkCAP JX Workbench. For deploying applications, a server edition is required. The Enterprise Edition is priced at $15,000 per server; the Community Edition—which deploys to Tomcat and JBoss using the MySQL database—is free.

About the Author

Kathleen Ohlson is senior editor at Application Development Trends magazine.

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