Vision Software's new JADE 4.0 Web application server may be in a class all its own. It now offers the Vision Business Logic Server, touted by its creators as the first in a "new class" of server software for the enterprise. The JADE server adds standards-based logic execution features to the same state-of-the-art services found in many of its frontline competitors. The most interesting of these features is the Extensible Data Access (XDA) Framework.
Java-based JADE 4.0 consists of three scalable tools for intranets, extranets and the Internet. Vision Developer Studio is a business-rules environment for automating the development of Java applications, which promises productivity gains. The Vision Business Logic Server provides a customizable platform for deploying cross-platform Web apps. And the Vision Business Server Console lets users manage the security, connectivity and application performance of the server.
Employing business rules over procedural code, the Vision Business Logic Server stands to enhance rapid application development of the "next generation of Web applications," according to the Oakland, Calif., company. It combines an intuitive RAD environment, such as those found in contemporary 4GLs, with graphical data modeling to create rules-based objects that define an application's logic, data and presentation.
While other current application servers use numerous APIs to create interfaces, in often proprietary formats, the JADE server offers highly extensible integration and automation services in an open architecture for maximum portability and scalability across multi-tier systems.
"The Vision Business Logic Server is the first in a new category of product to combine the scalability of application servers with the time to market and business flexibility that only business-rules automation can deliver," says Mike DeVries, Vision's vice president of marketing.
The XDA FrameworkBolstering this claim is Vision's XDA Framework, which lies at the heart of JADE's open architecture. XDA applies business-rule automation to leading relational databases, standard object-computing protocols (e.g., COM/ActiveX, CORBA and Java Beans), packaged applications and customized legacy systems.
XDA is a collection of Java interfaces that enable services in the Business Logic Server and Developer Studio to process business-rule components automatically, regardless of their original data source.
Vision describes XDA as a "super-result-set manager" with the ability to expose the specific methods of an object. It separates the business logic from the storage mechanism of the object via a data manager known as an XDA Connector, which implements security and data access and manipulation functionality.
XDA Connectors can be generic or specific to a given object. Generic XDA Connectors can use the metadata from a particular data source for handling multiple objects, whereas specific Connectors can be hard-coded to individual objects. Using Connectors for proprietary data sources enables developers to re-use all JADE productivity services, including result-set management, form binding, application automation and business-rule automation. Data-source connectivity in this environment is handled as a property of a JADE component, which can be manipulated at the discretion of the developer.
Employing the XDA Framework, JADE developers can rapidly build native Web applications automatically integrated with existing enterprise systems -- such as those from Baan, PeopleSoft and SAP. Vision says that it is continuing to "aggressively" work on XDA Connectors for the most-popular data sources, as well as partnering with third-parties to populate a "rich set" of XDA Connectors.
According to a recent business bulletin by International Data Corp. (IDC), of Framingham, Mass.: "IDC believes that Vision Software's idea and implementation of XDA Connectors may be among the technical features most appreciated by end-user development organizations."
Paradigm of the Business Logic ServerVision claims that its new JADE application development model -- using Developer Studio in collaborative settings to build business-rule apps from virtually any data source by leveraging XDA in the Business Logic Server, as well as manage these from the Server Console -- allows developers to provide solutions to a "vast array" of enterprise needs.
The company states that the JADE server will deliver such advanced services as:
- native threads
- connection pooling
- load balancing via server pooling
- state and session management
- failover service
- external event management
- integrated security management
- native integration with CORBA services
- integration with third-party transaction servers.
"By providing a clean separation of application logic from its presentation and execution, JADE has established a new paradigm of development to complement a new paradigm of deployment," continues the IDC analysis. "The increase in developer productivity enabled by this approach will establish a new benchmark for creating complex Web applications."
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Kieron Murphy is the editorial manager for developer.com. He has previously written for The Java Report, SunWorld, and IEEE Network, among other publications. He can be contacted at: email@example.com.