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RIA & Ajax: Article

IBM Engages AJAX with Free Friendly Tool

Development Engagement Service (DevEngage) Comes from Blue's Israeli Lab

IBM's new, free Web application development tool--which was made by IBM Labs in Haifa, Isrea--offers a simple user-interface to allow people without technical skills in small businesses and other organizations to create applications that solve daily tasks, according to Big Blue.

The IBM Development Engagement Service (DevEngage) requires no programming skills and is a visually appealing, user-friendly, interactive tool designed to develop online forms for any small business' tasks, including Human Resources, Finance, Sales or Marketing, that automate common manual processes, such as the collection and analysis of information. By giving users easy tools to create simple applications themselves, this eliminates wait time required when a typical employee issues an application development request through an IT department.

IBM Development Engagement Service builds on Web 2.0 attributes and uses technologies such as AJAX, the company says. The tool generates applications using common metaphors and practices to automate routine tasks, such as form processing where forms are distributed, filled and then entered into a database. The user is taken through a series of "wizard" pages that let him specify details such as an application name, behavior, look and feel.

Once the user defines the application, the definition is submitted to the tool's Java-based server-side back-end where the application is constructed. At this point the back-end uses templates to generate the application and returns to the user a URL, pointing the user to the Web-accessible online form.

Unlike application wikis which require technology-savvy users and do not address workflow or data storage in a database, the IBM Developer Engagement Service is designed to appeal to the average business user. It requires no elaborate instructions, cumbersome download or installation of any new software, enabling users to focus on the problem at hand. A typical user has limited experience using software "wizards," documents, spreadsheets and forms, and knows how to create items in a "canvas" and later rearrange them using basic drag and drop functions.

"This new application development tool will let users with no software development expertise skill create online forms with ease that complete routine tasks," said Gal Shachor, project lead for this technology at the IBM Research Lab in Haifa. "IBM wants to ensure users that small and medium-sized businesses are able to capitalize on modern Web 2.0 technologies in a simple, user-friendly way."

"As more business activities move online, there are more occasions to ask the IT Department for help," said Glen Gould, Director, Small-to-Mid-Size Business at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. "But if you have to wait a lengthy period for support, or you don't have an IT department, you can save either time or money -- and a lot of aggravation -- by quickly creating your own online forms for just about anything."

More Stories By RIA News Desk

Ever since Google popularized a smarter, more responsive and interactive Web experience by using AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript + XML) for its Google Maps & Gmail applications, SYS-CON's RIA News Desk has been covering every aspect of Rich Internet Applications and those creating and deploying them. If you have breaking RIA news, please send it to RIA@sys-con.com to share your product and company news coverage with AJAXWorld readers.

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