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AJAX-Based Rich Internet Applications: Backbase Enterprise Ajax 4.1.2 Kicks Off 2008

Adds new client SOAP API, improved form validation, several new widgets, new Debugger features, and more

Newly released in three editions - a free Community Edition for development and deployment up to one server and 2CPUs, a Client Edition, and a JSF Edition - Backbase Enterprise Ajax 4.1.2 is the latest  version of San Mateo, CA-based Backbase's flagship AJAX framework for the Enterprise. It adds new client SOAP API, improved form validation, several new widgets, new Debugger features, improved data binding, performance increases, and enhanced documentation.



Jouk Pleiter, Co-Founder & CEO of Backbase, speaking at AJAXWorld in 2006, NYC.

There are so many additions and improvement that we will let the company summrize them in its own words:

New! Client SOAP API

Web Services are key to modern IT infrastructures. The new SOAP API provides a simple interface to communicate with remote Web Services. It can be accessed via the Backbase JavaScript API and via the Backbase execution tags (XEL). Learn how, in the detailed example page.

New! Improved Forms

Forms are used in many Ajax applications. With 4.1.2, Backbase forms functionality is further refined. In addition to standard validation and error message definition, it is now possible to create customized validation rules using XML Schemas. Learn more on pages 41-45 of the Client Application Development Guide.

New! Double Slider Widget

A frequently requested widget is the double slider. It’s often used to indicate a lower upper bound: for example, a minimum and maximum price of a house or hotel room. This is now a standard widget in 4.1.2, and can be found in the Backbase Explorer.

New to the Client Edition! CheckBoxGroup Widget

The checkBoxGroup is a new form widget that was added to the Client Edition and which corresponds to the selectManyCheckbox component of the JSF Edition conforming to the JSF MyFaces Reference Implementation. The new Widget can be found in the Feature Explorer.

New! Enhanced Debugger – Cross browser functionality also on IE

The new in-browser debugger adds new functionality. It now pops up in a new window, so that you can easily move aside your main browser window. So now developers can choose between opening a new window or keeping the debugger within the main browser window. Also, a TDL tab has been added: this tab shows the classes that are used in the application, organized by namespace. Classes are color coded to identify Abstract and Concrete Classes, Interfaces and Behaviors. Once a node is selected, the right-hand screen shows the Attributes, Properties, Methods and Handlers. More information can be found on the Debugger example page.

New! BTL XML Schema (XSD) – Adds Backbase code completion functionality to all compliant IDEs. In addition to Backbase’s own plug-in for Eclipse which includes code completion, Backbase 4.1.2 now provides an XML Schema that defines Backbase’s Tag Library. Most editors and IDEs allow developers to import such Schema to add third party code completion support to their development platform. Backbase new Schema is called ‘btl.xsd’ and can be found in the /documentation/schemas directory of the Community and Client Editions.

New! Data Binding Features and Documentation

Backbase 4.1.2 adds namespaces support to XML data. Backbase new client engine brings namespace recognition to most Web browsers. This functionality is essential if the server-side application generates XML files that use namespaces so name conflicts can be avoided. Learn more on how to avoid name conflicts. Furthermore, developers can now dynamically switch data sources. In the case of offline Ajax, the data source can be remote when online and can be switched to local Google Gears storage when the user goes offline. Furthermore, you can now use a dataFormatter to format data for display, i.e. to add currency symbols - the underlying data remains unchanged. New Data Binding documentation has been added to the Client Application Development Guide (pages 77-79) and in the new example page.

New! Performance Improvements

With Backbase 4.1.2, the optimized version is now about 10% faster in execution speed, and the binding files have been minimized, resulting in a 20% size reduction.

New! Enhanced Documentation

One of the main goals of 4.1.2 was to add more documentation and improve its accuracy. The Application Development Guide has been totally revised, a completely new Beginner Tutorial has been added and the API Reference provides more detailed information. In addition, the HTML API Reference now includes full-text search, which is powered by the Backbase framework (client-side implementation).

New Security Improvements

As Backbase is used with many Global 2000 companies, including some of the World’s leading financial institutions, security has a high priority. In addition to thousands of unit tests that we run on our software before release, and to the test suite that we created and is now used by many browser manufacturers such as Firefox and Opera; the obfuscation of the client-side has been further improved to make it harder to analyze and reverse-engineer.

New to the JSF Edition! updatePanel Component

The updatePanel is a new component that allows Ajax-enabling of regular JSF components. It enables integration of 3rd party JSF components inside a Backbase JSF Application. By using the updatePanel, one can integrate and use of the functionality of the Tomahawk inputHTML (rich text editor) and Schedule (calendar) components. For more information please refer to the JSF Edition Application Development Guide (pages 135- 137).

New to the JSF Edition! Chat Demo application

A new Chat demo application was added in the JSF Edition that shows how a Push solution can be applied to a Backbase application integrated with DWR. An explanation of how the integration of Backbase with DWR is setup can be found on the Backbase Developer Network. Both the demo application and the example page can be found in the JSF Edition download package.

New! JSF Edition Eclipse plugin improvement

The JSF Edition Eclipse plugin was updated to support generation of custom components with custom taglib URI and in custom client namespace. This delivers flexibility when one wish to create custom Backbase JSF Components in his/her own company taglib and namespace.

New to the JSF Edition! How-to create custom components

A new ePage was created that explains how to design and implement a custom component in custom taglib by enhancing an existing Backbase JSF Component. It also describes how to fine-tune the client functionality of the component by creating a client widget in custom namespace. The example page can be found in the examples/tutorials.war of the JSF Edition download package.

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 [email protected] to share your product and company news coverage with AJAXWorld readers.

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Steven Coker 02/06/08 08:17:44 AM EST

Seems like just what we need to help us migrate fat client applications to the Web

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