- By Matt Stephens
- April 27, 2006
If there’s one thing the rise of AJAX has done, it’s give us a proliferation of rich-client web development frameworks. Each framework seems to hit the ground with a mature and extensive set of features, and with a learning path that’ll keep you discovering new levels rather like searching deeper and deeper into the dungeons in a late-night game of NetHack.
Backbase is an example of one of these rather good, mysteriously mature AJAX server products. The demos browsable from the front page of their website show how easy it is now to just drag and drop components in order to, well, create drag-and-drop UIs. There’s now no excuse to create a web-based product without a slick, usable rich-client UI.
Backbase is a commercial product, and it comes in several different versions.
The Java Edition gives you the Backbase AJAX Engine, lots of AJAX components to play around with, support for JSF via a JSF Server Extension, and the obligatory plug-in for Eclipse. As you’d expect, you can also create your own library of custom AJAX GUI controls that will work in Backbase.
.NET developers aren’t left out in the cold either: the .NET Edition gives pretty much the same product set except with a .NET 2.0 Server Extension and a plug-in for Visual Studio.NET.
There’s also a free-as-in-beer Community Edition for non-commercial use.
The product supports a wide range of browser platforms including IE (of course) and Firefox. Currently there isn't support for Opera or Safari, but we're assured that that's on its way.
Wisely, Backbase has opted to structure their pricing model around the number of webserver CPUs that you deploy on; and they don’t charge for per-seat developer licenses.