Comprehensive AJAX Platform Released As Open Source
Posted on: 01/10/2006 07:34 PM

A press release from ClearNova:

ClearNova's ThinkCAP JX, the first visual development environment for building rich Internet applications with AJAX now includes a royalty-free, open source runtime.

ALPHARETTA, GA, January 10, 2006 -- Developers now have a fast, efficient and cost-effective way to create AJAX-enabled rich Internet applications with the release of ClearNova’s, ThinkCAP JX™ -- the first rapid application development (RAD) platform to be offered as open source, and the first visual development environment for building rich Internet applications. ThinkCAP JX combines the power of AJAX, J2EE and open source to enable organizations and their developers to build the web-based applications that run their businesses.

ThinkCAP JX is available for download at the www.thinkcap.org. In addition, in late February, the project web site will be the location for community feedback, shared experiences, bug fixes, feature requests and sharing knowledge with other users. ClearNova will provide training, consulting, maintenance and support for the product. In addition to releasing ThinkCAP JX under the GPL license for non-commercial distribution, ThinkCAP will also be available to those needing a commercial license indemnification at a nominal price.

"Our customers, as well as the 750 organizations that downloaded our beta have spoken loud and clear: they want an open source, royalty free framework and engine that allows them to fully exploit the collaborative nature of the community and that does not lock them into a proprietary runtime," said Byron Matheson, CEO of ClearNova. "We are confident that releasing the ThinkCAP JX framework as an open-source product will provide customers with the ability to realize the power of AJAX-enabled web applications as a better alternative to traditional client server business programs, while greatly accelerating adoption of ThinkCAP as the gold-standard for RAD platforms."

AJAX Ushers in a New Era of Web-based Productivity
AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) is a set of programming techniques that allow Web applications to be much more responsive and provide usability on par with traditional client/server applications. Using AJAX techniques, applications can act on data and events as the user interacts with the system by communicating to the server and updating portions of a page immediately instead of always refreshing the entire page. The results are faster, more robust applications.

Until now, AJAX development has been highly labor intensive and required very sophisticated programming skills and a complete change in how developers approach their work. ThinkCAP JX allows Java and 4GL developers to rapidly build applications without having to become JavaScript experts. ThinkCAP JX provides event-driven AJAX development so that developers can code on either the client or the server—or both; because developers can leverage Java to make changes to the user interface, it is easier for them to develop and maintain the application. ThinkCAP JX can also be used to add AJAX functionality to existing Java applications.

“ClearNova has helped bridge the gap between AJAX benefits and J2EE complexity — and added a significant RAD benefit to the process with the release of its ThinkCAPJX dev framework”, says Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions. “The ThinkCAP JX release recognizes the RAD benefits of reducing handcrafting and scripting. While many applications are being AJAX-ified with a bevy of open source tools, frameworks, and home-grown customizations, there have been few options for bringing an automation level to the process that helps Visual Basic and PowerBuilder types enter the practice.”*

RAD Capabilities, Open Source Flexibility
The ThinkCAP JX Framework integrates almost 25 open source frameworks and engines including Struts and Hibernate and provides a seamless framework that ties them all together. It also adds value to open source through ThinkCAP Workbench, a highly visual design environment.

At the core of ThinkCAP’s AJAX framework are two popular open source AJAX projects: prototype and script.aculo.us. These libraries were chosen because they provide excellent base functionality but also because they are the two projects driving the AJAX functionality of the Ruby-On-Rails project and therefore are being frequently updated.

Other open source and standards-based projects in ThinkCAP’s core architecture are OpenRico, JUnit, log4J, JFreeChart, Apache Axis, Apache Commons (Validator, BeanUtils, Collections, Digester, and Logging), Castor, JEP, Jakarta (Oro, POI, and Regexp), Apache (Lucene, Batik, and Bcel), JavaTidy, and Xerces.

ThinkCAP JX runs on any operating system and Java application servers such as IBM WebSphere, BEA Weblogic, Oracle 10g, Sybase EA Server, JBoss, Tomcat, Jetty, and Resin.

About ThinkCAP JX
The ThinkCAP JX Framework, available as open source via GPL or through a low-cost commercial license for redistribution, includes:
· AJAX powered 3-Tier Client/Server Framework – Allows developers to quickly build interactive, event-driven functionality utilizing the power of Java on the server and JavaScript on the client
· Rich Data-Aware Controls Visual Effects – A full set of controls such as menus, outlook bars and accordion controls along with rich visual effects for building professional looking applications
· Dynamic Updateable Multi-Row Dataview – Extremely flexible, data-driven grid control giving developers unparalleled ability to create complex views of data
· Advanced Web Framework - A proven MVC (model-view-controller) framework based on Struts including a full client and server-side validation framework
· Extensive Event Model – Easy to program event model for all aspects of web application functionality including transactions, update control, actions, component lifecycle, and more.
· Extensibility and Openness - ThinkCAP includes more than 25 open source projects and brings them together in one cohesive framework
· Near-Codeless Data Persistence - Seamless integration of popular open-source Hibernate and Castor persistence engines
· Agile Development Support – Allows developers to validate and refine user requirements through rapidly built prototypes using “mock” data

The ThinkCAP JX Workbench, a highly visual design environment for taking advantage of the ThinkCAP JX engine is available at a low annual subscription price of $499/year.
· Visual Workbench – Intuitive visual development of pages, data binding, AJAX events, navigations, flows, data entry forms, charts and graphs, and reports
· Eclipse integration – Event and Handler code and method stub generation; Workbench automatically navigates Eclipse to appropriate code areas
· Page Flow Designer - Point and click building of application flow and strutsconfig.xml
· Full Source Control via CVS Integration

Availability and Pricing
The ThinkCAP JX Framework is open source and is licensed under the GNU Public License (GPL). For software vendors and other organizations wishing to distribute ThinkCAP JX without having to distribute their source code, a royalty-free commercial ThinkCAP JX license is available for $2,000 per developer.

ThinkCAP JX Workbench is available at a $499 subscription price per year and includes documentation and technical support. The Workbench is not required to build applications in the ThinkCAP JX Framework but does provide tremendous productivity and value.

About ClearNova
ClearNova, based in Alpharetta, part of Georgia's growing technology corridor, provides rapid application development software and expertise to power and deliver today's complex Web-based business applications.

ClearNova's flagship product, ThinkCAP, was originally released in 2001 as a high productivity environment for building Web applications for application service providers. ThinkCAP has evolved to include highly productive and intuitive visual designers for all elements of modern Web applications including AJAX, Rich Internet Applications, Traditional Page Oriented Applications, application flow, data access, content management, and security.

ClearNova, ThinkCAP and ThinkCAP JX are registered trademarks of ClearNova Inc. All other products are trademarks of their respective owners.

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