How to Magically Create a Killer UI for Your OpenEdge Application

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You dream of connecting with powerfully engaged users.

People who are excited by your OpenEdge application – and show it.

But first you must create a new HTML5 and native mobile user experience for your existing OpenEdge application.

If you can’t think of an easy way to do this, you’re not alone. Other companies have tried to modernize their OpenEdge application UI – and failed. Until now.

Too slow, too expensive, too risky

The OpenEdge technology has enabled you to create the features your users love.What OpenEdge has traditionally been lacking is a seamless integration with modern webframeworks such as Kendo UI or AngularJS – or even .NET. A major hurdle is that web UIs are stateless environments.

One work around would be to tweak the existing code to accommodate the stateless UI.

Unfortunately, this creates a bloated application that is too slow to use.

Another approach is to redo the backend. But this is no small task if you have to recode it by hand. It can amount to thousands of man-hours of work. The cost, risk, and releasedelays of a complete rewrite are prohibitive for most companies.

What does it take to deliver the ultimate user experience?

How can you create that killer OpenEdge UI that users can enjoy on their web browsers, tablets and smartphones? This should not be too much to ask in 2015.

Several ISVs approached Servoy with this question. So we put our thinking caps on and developed a stateful application server that seamlessly integrates the OpenEdge backend with Kendo UI, Bootstrap or with the solution of your choice. We’ve included a toolset of frameworks–based on best industry practices and fully maintained–so you can select the navigation, security features, or multi-tenancy of your new user interface.

We don’t think you should have to learn HTML, C++ or Java either; so the only language you need to know is JavaScript. And you can connect to the ABL layer without having to rewrite. The Servoy platform uses a familiar Rapid Application Development environment that is quick and easy to learn.

This way, you can design your new user interface according to user needs and desired experience, not architecture or database requirements. Your UX team can become integral part of the development process and has the freedom to create the perfect user experience.

Ten times faster

You can even accurately estimate the time and costs involved in modernizing your OpenEdge application, minimize the risk, and generate productivity gains that are tenfold compared with other methods.

Can you create your killer OpenEdge application UI with Servoy? Have a look at our webinar on this subject and let us know what you think.

Servoy featured in Dutch publications AG and Informatie

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In an article about Cloud Computing Servoy was featured as a company that runs entirely in the cloud. At Servoy we have no on premise software but run everything in the Cloud. Here is a brief listing of our most used applications:

– Servoy CRM. Our internal crm system that manages all our client communications, sales and more. Obviously built on Servoy
– Atlassian Jira. For issue tracking and more.
– Google Apps. For email, documents, calendaring
– Skype. For communication
– GotoMeeting. For online presentations and meetings

Download the original articles courtesy of Automatiserings Gids and Informatie. Articles are in Dutch.

Automatiserings Gids

Informatie article

What made Reflecta choose Servoy as frontend for Progress?

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In terms of the functionality of our software and our knowledge, our company currently provides the most superior offering in this market. In terms of user interface we saw opportunities to improve our offering and strengthen our position in the market. Since our current development environment didn’t allow us to create more modern and operating system independent UI’s, we started to look for alternatives that would be future proof. In our selection process, we not only qualified based on features and benefits of the platform, but also on the company behind it. After careful consideration we chose Servoy. From our first interactions we have been impressed with the organization itself and its development platform. The Servoy platform complies entirely with our demands around creating modern user interfaces. It has to support multiple platforms such as Windows, OS X, Linux and mobile devices, and has to give us the option to deliver our application in a SaaS based way. After a successful Proof of Concept any doubts we had were eliminated, leading us to select Servoy as our future platform. We are currently in the first phase of our development strategy and we are 100% convinced that we will be able to realize our vision of becoming the absolute market leader in the fashion, shoe and sports industry.

Are You Ready for a Web Browser-Based IDE?

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Admit it. You’re skeptical.

Is a cloud-hosted integrated development environment really possible?

Sure, you’ve seen applications such as MS Office—and even your favorite games—move to the web. But those applications are run-of-the-mill.

An IDE, on the other hand, is a complex tool. Is a browser-based IDE even advisable? You can’t help wondering …

The web reinvents itself

Over the past 20 years, we’ve seen the web transform itself beyond recognition, moving from static HTML pages to web 2.0 and now HTML5. Today, even highly interactive applications are web-based, with Google’s Chrome OS playing a significant role in shaping the web.

The web’s dramatic development traces back to several key technological shifts. First, virtualization has commoditized the IT landscape, initially on premises, and now on the cloud. Second, cheap cloud-based computing coupled with affordable high-speed Internet connections has made the widespread use of web applications possible.

In turn, web applications have brought low costs, interoperability, and ease of integration. Each web application operates as a service, seamlessly communicating with other web applications via APIs. Users have been quick to embrace web apps, caring little what lies behind a service as long as it runs.

Mobile applications are now becoming the interface of choice for the general public. It will soon be the case for businesses. Increased CPU power allows today’s mobile devices to run sophisticated web apps, rapidly turning native applications into a thing of the past.

Browser-based development is already happening

If accessing services through a browser has become the new norm, should you be surprised to see it applied to software development?

You’re probably already using a browser-based case system, as well as virtual machines to test and demo your software. You may be storing your source code in GitHub, the popular web-based repository. You likely run unit testing in a hosted environment, whether on Azure, Amazon, SoftLayer or on any other standardized environment (J2EE/node.js/LAMP). You may even use JSFiddle in a browser to test your JavaScript code.

But when it comes to your integrated development environment and local development server, you feel those are different. Why?

Introducing the ultimate IDE

There are no good reasons why an IDE should not run in a browser, with a backend as a service. In fact, there are excellent reasons to switch as soon as technology makes it possible.

First, having a worry free and complete back end of your development environment will help you focus on what is really important: building great software that users love. Software development in a browser cuts ties with a specific machine, location, and time. It brings down the cost of the hardware and software you use and of its associated maintenance.

So prepare yourself for the inevitable. Get ready for your new, browser-based IDE!

PS:In case you are wondering: yes, Servoy is spending serious research in this area.

Servoy 8 Alpha

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Today we’re proud to announce the immediate availability of Servoy 8 alpha. Here’s the link to download it while you finish reading this post:
servoy.com/download

Servoy 8 is our biggest release since Servoy 1 was built. The new ng-client (next generation client) with a strong focus on deliver great UX enables software developers to deliver great applications using our established RAD capabilities.

When we started creating the roadmap after Servoy 7 was released we realized we needed to completely rethink our web client based on the new realities of today. While our web client technology was great we felt it was going to be outdated in a few years so we decided to start with a clean sheet of paper. This exercise helps to think out of the box and avoids trying to bolt or hack your existing technology stack. We tried to come up with a minimum list of capabilities the technology should have:
– responsive design
– great UX on smartphone, tablet and desktop
– cross browser
– retains RAD capabilities
– increased responsiveness
– secure

When we started with web client we built it on Apache Wicket, in it’s day the best framework to create powerful web applications. However as frameworks grow older and bolt on more and more features we needed something radically different. After extensive research we found that Angular was going to be the best fit. Read more about the background in the post from Jan Blok.

Servoy 8 is unique: it’s the only RAD platform to deliver great HTML5 apps quickly and without headaches. Servoy 8 will will make your users happy, and of course the developers as well!

Get started with Servoy 8 with this introduction overview: Servoy 8 introduction video and demo

Servoy loves progress

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Tomorrow is the EMEA PUG conference in Germany. We were planning to go as we love progress and we happen to offer a great UX platform to modernize existing OpenEdge applications. We sponsored last year’s conferences in both Europe and the USA and were received warmly by the Progress community. We enjoyed it very much and received feedback from the attendees and Board that Servoy was received well as a new player in the PUG arena.

Unfortunately when we subscribed to sponsor this year’s event, we did not receive a response. After a discussion with the board of the EMEA PUG, we learned that Progress Software viewed Servoy as a threat and would retract their sponsorship if they allowed Servoy to sponsor as well. Though disappointing, we fully understand the position EMEA PUG was facing.

To learn more of Progress Software’s decision, we scheduled an appointment at Progress Software’s EMEA headquarters, where we were cordially received by Damian Coyle, Monique Bruins and a pre-sales engineer of Progress Europe.

They shared that Progress Software sees us as competition. When we explained that we believe the opposite, that Servoy extends the lifecycle of a Progress application by allowing ISVs to deliver modern HTML5 front-ends with a superior User Experience, they eventually agreed verbally that Servoy does not compete with Progress. Also, Damian Coyle was going to discuss the matter with Mr. Armstrong, the EMEA director. Unfortunately, Mr. Armstrong still saw Servoy as competition – he does not want Servoy to sponsor the conference AND, in fact, does not want any Servoy employee attending the conference. We regret this but respect the decision of the EMEA PUG board as Progress Software is a key sponsor for their event.

The facts are on our side: more and more companies based on Progress Software’s OpenEdge technology are using Servoy to deliver great User Experiences in record time. We will be hosting a webinar soon where a couple of Progress ISVs will demonstrate their success.

We are confident the EMEA PUG conference is going to be a great conference and we would have loved to join but we fully understand the decision taken by the board of the PUG. We wish everybody a fantastic conference!

At Servoy we love progress and if you are interested in progressing your application to the next level by adding a great UX and UI on top of your existing OpenEdge application contact us to learn more!

note: OpenEdge and Progress Software are registered trademarks of Progress Software. When I use progress in this post I refer to the English word progress and not the software company.

The perfect storm

Looking back we found ourselves in the perfect storm over the last year developing Servoy v8. As our focus for Servoy v8 was primarily on user experience, we learned that great UX in modern web applications relies on responsive design.

Responsive design means the user interface adapts to the device dimensions. Such a UI will work across mobile and desktop. When approached correctly, this means a developer can build an application UI only once, to be usable for a range of devices and screen sizes.

But to combine responsive design with Rapid Application Development, is no small endeavor. There are quite some html page tools which facilitates responsive design. And while most of these tools deliver a page which is responsive, a page is not the same as an application having distinct, controllable parts.

One of the upcoming web frameworks, AngularJS turned out a perfect match with responsive design. It allows for pages to being modularized into parts called Web Components. And within a rapid application environment, components become easy to manipulate; these are extremely similar to the elements that we’ve already had for years.

Another feature AngularJS brings is two-way binding of JavaScript objects to page elements, which means for example, the content of a field is copied into a object of choice and back.

At the same time, a library called Bootstrap released its third version with makes responsive design really easy to setup. It divides every UI into a layout grid called 12-grid. Grid cells can be filled with any content. It makes a lot of sense to combine this responsive design with Web Components. The result is that everything, except for the grid definition and static HTML, is a Web Component.

Finally, to have optimal communication between browser and server, we leveraged another piece of html5 technology, Web Sockets.
Not only does this allow for better communication from browser to server, but also allows the server to actually talk to a webcomponent. We extended the two-way binding from AngularJS into three-way binding. This enables communication between WebComponents running in the browser and records/foundsets at the server.

As a result this brings extreme flexibility in several ways:

  • Any UX which can be expressed in HTML can now be used. (by making it a WebComponent)
  • Any helper/grid layout system like bootstrap can be utilized in order to get the best responsive design
  • Such a layout grid can be filled with WebComponents using WYSIWYG design.
    In short, an enterprise solution can now have the UX, which the modern user has come to expect, delivered in a rapid application environment.

For the first time in Servoy’s history, we succeeded to make Servoy’s codebase smaller, since all standard form elements are now delivered as WebComponents.
In fact, any WebComponents are now considered external to Servoy, which means you can actually replace or adapt the default elements shipping with Servoy like a field or button.

All our ideas for improving the UX capabilities of Servoy came together with the possibility to use maturing web technologies – a perfect storm.

The new flexibility and a ton of possibilities does put a huge smile on our faces, we are pretty sure it will work the same for you.

Jan Blok
CTO
Servoy

ServoyWorld 2014

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ServoyWorld 2014, our ninth conference just finished and wow! What a great event again. Our biggest announcement was Servoy 8, arguably our biggest release since the first version of Servoy. Servoy 8 takes our web technology into the next generation and makes it seamless to create powerful HTML5 applications.

Our next generation web client is called ng client and builds on AngularJS and Bootstrap. This combined with our +12 years of experience of delivering RAD (Rapid Application Development) tools creates the most advanced html5 platform on the planet. To learn more about Servoy 8 visit the main Servoy 8 page.

With over 30 sessions and trainings ServoyWorld 2014 was a great place to learn more about Servoy and share knowledge with other developers. Our engineers enjoyed getting feedback from customers directly in the sit down sessions during and between conference sessions.

If you couldn’t attend the conference and want to learn more about Servoy 8 make sure to attend the launch webinar. If you are interested in downloading the ServoyWorld presentation have a look in this forum thread for the slides.

I look forward to meeting you at ServoyWorld 2015!

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Automated UI Testing

Automated testing is a must in order to build a maintainable codebase and staying agile while writing code. Automated testing is a core procedure of a modern software factory where continuous builds and continuous integrations are widely used practices; testing your software manually every time a new build is prepared requires a lot of effort. Running automated tests will help developers to spot errors in the new build and correct them immediately. During this webinar we will show how automate testing for the Web Client by using Selenium. The automated UI script generated by Selenium will reproduce the user interactions with the browser and will validate the UI state.