EBA data grid adds AJAX functionality

Even the CEO has heard of Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, or AJAX, by now. Implementing these data-based Web techniques in enterprise apps, however, requires new development paradigms, and new worries about issues like cross-browser functionality.

eBusiness Applications, a Canada-based consultancy and software developer, is taking the JavaScript coding out of the equation for enterprise developers building rich Internet applications. Last month, EBA released an updated version of its data grid component. Grid V3 uses JavaScript and DHTML to allow users to perform data entry and browse a remote database asynchronously from an Excel-like interface. The component is built using AJAX techniques to offer desktop spreadsheet like functionality from a Web page. Features include live scrolling, in-place cell editing, column resizing, and data editing with autocomplete editors. Users can copy and paste between Excel and the Web.

“You can retrieve and send data to and from the server so you don’t have to do a full page refresh in the Web browser, which can take 1-3 seconds, a long time if you are entering a lot of records into a database or a call center application,” says David Johnson, EBA co-founder and CTO.

A small lightweight component, Grid V3 essentially connects to a server, a Java backend or .NET C# backend, and retrieves the data. On the Web page, when users hit enter, it saves the data to the database.

Version 3 offers cross-browser support (FireFox, Camino, Internet Explorer) on multiple platforms (Windows, Macintosh, Linux). It also natively supports Java 2 Enterprise Edition, ASP.NET, ASP and PHP.

“We provide full server to client integration, so no matter what backend you are using, you can take advantage of this technology,” says Johnson. “It is all packaged into one small package that you just drag in to your Web page or Visual Studio or your preferred development environment.”

Developers could replace the .NET data grid, or drag Grid V3 in on top of it. There are no changes that need to be made on the backend or on the client, such as including the Excel libraries, asserts Johnson.

“We provide all the rich functionality. If you want to develop something like this using the open-source frameworks,” he adds, “you have to go in and write all the JavaScript code yourself.”

EBA is offering a 30-day free trial of Grid V3. A single developer license is $399. An enterprise license with source code is also available. Next up, EBA is working on an online spreadsheet application, expected in September, says Johnson.

About the Author

Kathleen Richards ([email protected]) is the editor of and executive editor of Visual Studio Magazine.