Iron Speed Designer aims to speed .Net development

* Iron Speed Designer application generator

I remember many, many years ago when I was living in England before I moved to the U.S., a program appeared that the press went ape over. It was an application generator called The Last One and the press bought the maker's story, hook, line, and sinker. "No one will ever need to program again," they shouted. Of course, the reality was considerably less impressive unless you wanted to do nothing more than create a simple database. But then, that was back in the days when having a couple of megs of RAM put you in the ubergeek category.

Today, application generators that can "do it all" still don't exist but ones that can construct really useful components are around and can make developing Web applications much easier.

I have in mind Iron Speed Designer from Iron Speed (see links below) that the company claims can create about 80% of an application's infrastructure programming - in other words, the workaday part that is cost-effective to generate mechanically. The idea is that by offloading the routine parts of Web application construction, developers can focus on the remaining 20% of the application logic that requires custom programming.

The latest release of Iron Speed Designer is actually an application generator for .Net that creates VB.Net and ASP.Net code.

You provide a pre-constructed database and a set of "layout pages" - HTML pages with special tags. Iron Speed Designer helps you bind database fields to these tags, and then generates a presentation layer, an application layer, along with a data layer complete with all of the necessary SQL queries and stored procedures.

To run Iron Speed Designer it needs to be installed on an Internet Information Server because it is an ASP.Net application itself. You develop your entire project through a rich Web browser interface.

While reasonably complex Web applications can be created with Iron Speed Designer, you will have to get "under the hood" to achieve integration with other systems and to fine tune performance.

Iron Speed Designer is available as a fully-functional 15-day evaluation copy with full tech support (the company claims you can create your first Web application in less than 15 minutes) and as a licensed product in a Professional Edition starting at $495 or an Enterprise version starting at $1,995.

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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