Sunday, September 27, 2009

Announcing Application Factory Projects

We are announcing two new premium projects, Web Application Factory and Web Site Factory. Both projects are based on Data Aquarium Framework and include automatic generation of web pages with advanced layouts selected at the time of code generation.

The pages of generated projects will feature a new component MenuExtender. The component will provide an advanced menu with unlimited levels, full keyboard support, advanced smart positioning to detect overlapping and screen size limits, and virtually identical rendering in major browsers. The component works with SiteMapDataSource and benefits from the ease of maintenance, security trimming, and navigation system customization features provided by ASP.NET.

All generated applications will be styled to mimic Microsoft SharePoint user interface, including page layouts, to provide a consistent “professional” look and feel out of the box. All styles are based on CSS and can be enhanced or replaced to provide alternative presentation.

A dedicated page will be created for each database table of the project with standard layouts selected by user and consistently applied to all pages. The layouts will include various master-detail options and tabbed presentation.

Both projects are functionally identical and will differ in implementation details. The first premium project will produce a Visual Studio web application project. The second premium project will create a Visual Web Developer web site project.

Designer Support for Site/Application Factory Projects

Code OnTime Designer will include designers to allow full customization of standard Data Aquarium settings and page layouts.

Users will be able to customize layouts of any page, create new pages, and retain customization over subsequent sessions of code generation.

A page is constructed out of containers activated by side bar links, a tab, or visible at all times. A multi-column layout of containers is supported.

Each page also features a collection of views that are pointing to views in Data Aquarium controllers.

A page view may expose the data controller data fields as a summary on the side bar.

A master-detail relationship may be established between page views to allow creation of master-detail pages with unlimited depth.

A page may also list a collection of ASP.NET user controls. Each user control has a name and is bound to a page container. A user control provides a basic unit of customization to create new code without losing ability to design applications visually. The code generator will create a corresponding ASP.NET *.ascx file for each user control only if the file does not exist yet.

New Features

Data Aquarium Framework will include a new AJAX components Web.HoverMonitor and Web.Menu located in the new script Web.Menu.js. The new components are a foundation for MenuExtender in new premium projects. Component Web.HoverMonitor replaces DropDownBehavior from AjaxControlToolkit that has been previously used to provide popup menus in the framework’s user interface. This will further increase the speed of rendering, responsiveness of user interface, full keyboard support, smart positioning, and identical rendering in major browsers.

The code generator speed has been increased to prevent re-generation of code files that will remain unchanged since the last code generation session.

Code OnTime Designer will include support for action groups and security settings available in Data Aquarium Framework application.

Availability

New premium projects will be released on October 19, 2009. Current premium project subscribers will automatically receive an update availability notification. Current Code OnTime Designer subscribers will also receive the designer updates at the same time.

Future

The future release of updates will include support for Microsoft Access and My SQL databases. The tentative availability date is set to November 23, 2009.

We are also evaluating support for deployment of Application Factory projects to Microsoft Azure.

Please post your comments about the new features and directions that you want us to explore.

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