Stories by James R. Borck

  • PhoneGap: Mobile development made easy

    Mobile development is as much about UI artistry and screen flow as technical programming. This premium on presentation means that the most important skills for building mobile apps are more likely to be found in your Web developers than your Objective-C coders.

  • Adobe Flash, Flex ignite with Flash Catalyst

    If only it were as easy to build a Web application as it is to design one in Illustrator and Photoshop. Maybe it will be someday, and maybe that someday is closer than we might think. Adobe has certainly succeeded in shrinking the distance between design and development with its latest batch of RIA tools: Adobe Flex 4 SDK, Adobe Flash Builder 4 (the Flex Builder IDE renamed), and Adobe Flash Catalyst, all recently made available in public beta.

  • King of the dynamic IDEs

    Komodo IDE 5 from ActiveState is the most comprehensive code editor and debugger available for enterprise teams that develop applications using a range of dynamic languages. Komodo's strong debugging skills are blended with broad-based coding support for Perl, PHP, Python, and Ruby, not to mention Tcl, Java, C, C++, Visual Basic, and many more. With powerful HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and XML support, Komodo is a great Web 2.0 companion as well.

  • Test Center preview: Sun JavaFX Preview SDK

    Sun Microsystems recently unveiled the first public beta of its JavaFX framework for RIAs (rich Internet applications). There's a lot to like about the new SDK. It's rich in capabilities, and its Java-like syntax makes it a good springboard to RIAs for Java developers. But even in Java shops, Sun and JavaFX are behind not just one eight ball but two. Heavyweight competitors Adobe and Microsoft, with Flex/AIR and Silverlight, respectively, offer RIA toolsets that are not only far more mature but also include tools that bridge the all-important gap between designers and coders.

  • Zoho CRM aims big, hits small

    AdventNet's Zoho CRM Enterprise Edition is a new, low-cost subscription-based SaaS offering that may be impossible to ignore. Building on a Professional edition that combines sales, service, marketing, and inventory management modules, Zoho Enterprise aims to meet the needs of corporate customers with such features as organizational management (including hierarchical group definitions), role-based security on data access and information sharing, SSL transport, and broader interface customizations.

  • Adobe Flex Builder speeds RIA development

    For improving the look and feel of browser-based applications, AJAX technologies work wonders, but RIAs (rich Internet applications) take the browser to a whole new level. RIAs deliver a consistently richer user experience, with functionality and data access more closely approximating native desktop apps.

  • Adobe breathes fresh AIR into RIA

    Adobe AIR 1.0 brings new hope to Web developers looking to combine the global connectedness of browser-based applications with the persistence and functionality of first-class, local desktop apps.

  • Ultimus jump-starts BPM deployment

    The success of a BPM (business process management) initiative hangs on a good plan. Spend too little time developing a snapshot of your company's inner workings, and the resulting system of misfiring rules and unhandled exceptions will find you mired in costly troubleshooting. But, sure enough, you can also lean too far in the other direction. Spend too much time charting workflow definitions, control points, and exception management, and the delays will start whittling away at your ROI.

  • Clearswift makes a clean sweep of Web threats

    Mitigating network-borne threats has been an imperative to companies of all sizes and statures. As if malware and viral infestation weren't enough, today's corporations must contend with even bigger bugs, including regulatory compliance, information leaks, and intellectual property theft.

  • Bluestone steels mid-tier for e-commerce

    Businesses looking to leverage new and existing applications and data sources for electronic commerce will do well to consider the latest Java-based server framework from Bluestone Software. I was pleased to find that Sapphire/Web 6.1 offers a very thorough solution, including some of the best integration for existing infrastructure that I have seen. The included suite of development tools makes it possible to quickly build data-driven applications that can integrate customers, partners, and employees from the Web top to your back-end data sources.

  • Cast neatly manages software changes

    Imagine you've just been assigned the task of implementing a relatively innocuous change to an existing client/server application. The less-than-comprehensive source-code documentation leaves you with unanswered questions, and because the application was developed years ago, the original programming team is nowhere to be found. If this sounds familiar, I would recommend an evaluation of Cast Software's Cast Workbench 3.74.

  • OptimizeIt cleans up code, cuts costs

    The debugging and troubleshooting cycles of software development can often be the most tedious and time-consuming. Java programmers looking to reduce the total time to market - while continuing to maintain high standards for application performance - will benefit from OptimizeIt Professional 3.0.