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What happened to the all-pervasive mobile computing revolution ? A major
obstacle has been in the development of flexible wireless applications even with
the current plethora of available software tools. These rapid application
development (RAD) tools have a multitude of features and also many limitations
for wireless platforms.
IT developers must make careful choices in developing mission-critical
enterprise applications and most times assemble a collection of different RAD
tools for different functions such as forms, reports and databases, adding
complexity to any test and development QA procedures.
In addition to the numerous RAD tools, there are many competing technologies
for mobile Platforms such as: HTML / XHTML, WAP / WML, WAP / XHTML, i-Mode /
cHTML, WebClipping, VoiceXML etc - together with alternative approaches such as
HDML (handheld device markup language).
Applications developers may focus on
producing content in XML and then use XSLT-based transformations to convert the
data for a platform. Others may choose the ASP.NET solution that develops webs
forms in device-independent way with customized conversion for a particular
But there are specifics of each technology that raise problems. For instance, in
WAP technology each mobile terminal has its own limitation for the size of the
atomic data portion (WML deck) it can process. Developers have to limit assume
that this size to 1500 bytes. The result is that UI forms that are acceptable on
one device may be unusable on another.
In addition, WAP devices vary
substantially in the presentation capabilities - some mobile phones are only
able to produce 3-4 lines of text like most Nokia devices while others are
equipped with large screens comparable to those of PDAs. Most likely the
developers will be required to develop different set of presentation forms for
What about making the data available for preloaded access as in WebClipping
applications? What about the same data being available using voice-based
applications? These are challenges that complicate matters further so the
developers have to write many thousands of lines of UI specific code, increasing
the difficulties in creating practical solutions for the many mission-critical
enterprise business applications.
Of course, organizations may decide to standardize on one mobile platform and
software environment, and then face the real risk of obsolescence with a
consequent loss in competitive advantage. Even when selecting a platform, these
organizations limit the number of mobile device types (sometimes to one), they
limit number of business tasks that can be performed from mobile device, and
they provide proprietary network connectivity (like Palm VII with CDPD).
see that the number of end user applications and user interfaces becomes
severely limited. Commercially successful mobile devices such as RIMM’s
Blackberry have limited functionality. Making corporate data accessible to a
remote workforce or partners is still a challenging and expensive task for most
New generation tools such as ITC Software’s BeanExplorer Enterprise Edition
provide end-to-end applications development and flexible customization.
Leveraging previously developed enterprise applications, developers using
BeanExplorer can quickly create mobile applications with custom flexibility to
effectively use the range of wireless technologies that exist in the today’s
Developer effort shifts from implementing UIs for variety of mobile terminals to
the task of implementing business logic required for mobile users and adapting
legacy information systems for the mobile world.
BeanExplorer features include:
- a methodology and software framework of object-relational mapping for the
relational data located in the corporate data warehouses; software framework for
identifying which of the corporate data is intended for a given end user (or the
set of users acting in a similar role);
- set of tools for generating user interface (UI) from the data definitions –
either as interfaces for thick clients written in Java or interfaces for
"thin" clients like web browsers and mobile terminals, since the UI is
generated on demand it can be easily customized to meet the constraints of every
particular terminal or browser, and;
- a software framework generating applications to integrate the these
technologies into a single application for developers.
BeanExplorer generates complete applications for corporate end users based on
the meta-information available for the enterprise data. BeanExplorer has the
following functions: The set of SQL scripts to be deployed onto corporate SQL
server. These scripts decompose enterprise legacy logic into set of classes,
their instances and appropriates J2EE-based web application to be integrated
into corporate middleware.
This application contains the set of libraries for automatic generation of web
forms for web browsers and mobile terminals Java libraries to assist
implementation of OOP-based operations on corporate data acting as
"wrappers" for legacy enterprise logic and relational data Java
libraries to assist creation of "thick" client Java applications with
the same auto generate UIs BeanExplorer’s approach addresses most problems of
the traditional application development process.
There is no need to design limitless input/view/reporting forms and validate
data for/from them - the forms are generated automatically and validity of data
ensured automatically. There is no need for application developers to write code
to maintain "classified" access - they only need to implement
operations in OOP terms and access to them will be assigned by a system
administrator. Data integrity issues are also handled automatically due
automatic generation of data accessing forms.
The approaches implemented in BeanExplorer substantially reduce the time and
lines of code required for implementing corporate applications for mobile
appliances. BeanExplorer may be the enabling development environment that brings
a second, more productive life to many mobile technologies like WAP by
facilitating incremental, low cost enhancements of enterprise applications with
>>>> Download an evaluation version from: www.BeanExplorer.nu
>>>> By: Roger Krieger, Sergey Zhatchenko, and Michael Kayat
>>> Online profiles http://www.wst.nu/itc/meet_the_team.htm
>>> ITC Software, 43 Partridge Lane, Carlisle, MA 01741
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