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Morfik and Rapid Development of Modern Web Apps 127

Bobby Jasper writes to tell us that The Firebird Database Community News has an interesting writeup on Morfik, a new development tool for beginning web applications. Morfik boasts increased developer productivity going so far as to draw comparisons between themselves and the current industry as VB 1.0 was to GUI development. After five years of development they are getting ready to release an evaluation version of their software, might be worth a look.
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Morfik and Rapid Development of Modern Web Apps

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  • realy? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @06:32AM (#13977521)
    So it's the First,Post VB, gui like tool?
  • windows only (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @06:39AM (#13977540)
    Morfik development environment itself is a Windows application

    You might have mentioned that in the writeup so non-MSCEs
    didn't waste their time reading TFA
    • Re:windows only (Score:5, Informative)

      by jurt1235 ( 834677 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @07:02AM (#13977604) Homepage
      They could have saved themselves several years of development by using opensource. A tool similar to morfik (MVC model, ajax development, some datamodelling) is for example this one: enProjects/backbase-eclipse.doc []

      There are probably a lot more (google on +eclipse +plugin +ajax gives 234.000 hits)
    • I think you meant MSCDs.
  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @06:40AM (#13977541) Homepage
    "Revolutionary new", "smart client" , "feature-rich", "unplugged", "ground breaking".

    Perhaps I'm a cynic but I always feel that a products real value is inversely proportional to
    the amount of marketdroid BS in the write-ups. If I'm correct then this is just Yet-Another-IDE
    that is (and wow, like this is so radical dude , well if would be if it was 1990 again) - a Smart
    Client! Jeez... how many times we been here before?
    • No kidding (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nmb3000 ( 741169 )
      I tend to agree.

      Besides, wasn't Slashdot just bashing Visual Studio [] and other "shake 'n bake" development tools? Why is this "unplugged" and "groundbreaking" new IDE so great? It "rots brains" faster?

      Look ma! Morfik made a web-based CRM app, and I helped!

      Faster != better when you have no idea how your application works or what makes it tick. Needing to call tech support when your web form breaks for some reason is not a step forward in development.
      • No, that wasn't Slashdot that was ripping a hole in Visual Studio, it was Microsoft development luminary Charles Petzold. You know, the author of the standard texts on Windows programming, "Programming Windows", and "Programming Windows in C#".
      • The problem is that in the software development lifecycle the build phase takes less then 10% of the overall time. It makes no sense to make a product that makes the build faster especially if it also makes debugging, integration, maintenance, and documentation slower. Visual studio is supremely guilty of this. Sure slapping a control on the screen and seeing the the data cool but having to maintain that SQL statement bound to the form for the rest of the applications life or trying to document that form is
    • Indeed. Not to mention that "smart client" is actually a Bad Thing. The web is egalitarian and ideally a web site or web application should be able to cater to all User Agents, whether they're smart or dumb. Things like asyncronus server requests through javascript should be the icing on the cake.

      They are trying to use javascript way more than it should be. Program logic should be on the server side and when it is not you start having lots of problems with security holes as well as bugs because browsers hav
      • Not all webserver-based applications are for general consumption or "the web". Many are just small business tools written in maybe 2 to 10 thousand lines of code. AJAX and all that goes with it is a viable substitute for many of these traditional inhouse applications, without the install/update overhead that goes with a traditional application. A dhtml/javascript ui using ajax to communicate with the server provides a very acceptable user experience.
        • Agreed. One of the nice things about AJAX app development is that all you have to do to make it work where you need it is to make sure it works on the installed browser.

          For me, this means that now the few folks using linux on their desktops can run the same (previously VB) apps as the rest of the people who are using it.

          I don't have to worry about tomcat, etc...the web pages are all plain old HTML, and the back-end processing pages are language-agnostic. If I write an app, I can port it to wherever I wa

    • But how else can a marketdroid explain this to another marketdroid? They haven't got a hope in hell of understanding the technical documentation. You and I can skip past the bullshit-bingo to the real stuff (if it exists).
    • by rjshields ( 719665 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @07:40AM (#13977683)
      Could it be that this development tool is aimed at other marketdroids? I can just imagine them dragging in some feature-rich controls and clicking the "generate ground breaking web app" button.
    • They worked for five (5!) years on a tool which makes development faster.
      Couldn't they just iterated the development of it on itself; they could have finished it in a few months.
      Or is it only really fast for boilerplate applications?
      • Couldn't they just iterated the development of it on itself; they could have finished it in a few months.
        I hear their next app "Bullshit-Bingo Buzzword Content Generator for Marketdroids" is expected in the next few days.
    • Having read all the information, I disagree that this is Yet Another IDE. The target is a web app designed to run online or offline and specifically using AJAX. I think that's the unique thing about it. The XmlHttpRequest object has been around since IE5, but nobody has done anything to promote its use until somebody made up the name AJAX. Now that people are catching on to the off-channel request technique I think it will have a big impact on web programming. Morfik seems like a good effort to package that
  • Great! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @06:40AM (#13977542)
    I have been waiting for something like this, finally I can merge the syntactic and semantic elegance of VB with the power and speed of a compiled language with a fast WYSIWYG development and deployment cycle!
    • Don't forget the transparency and maintainability you get from a "tight integration of web server, database, and application content", coupled with a high dependence on JavasScript magic for client views, server controller AND networking!

      I feel bad bashing enthusiastic startups, but really, they need to come up with some better selling arguments than quick prototyping and eye candy. I am getting SOOO fed up with the Ajax and "Web 2.0" hype.
    • Re:Great! (Score:2, Interesting)

      by estebanf ( 814656 )
      check the page source code. You can read a "Generated by Morfik XS http//" on top... and then realize that the generated code is not compliant with xhtml or html strict.... So using ccs2 with this "mega tool" will be another pain in the ass.
      Good job pionners! []
  • Paid (Score:4, Funny)

    by dg41 ( 743918 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @06:42AM (#13977544)
    OK, who paid for the Slashdot press release on this?
  • by BladeMelbourne ( 518866 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @06:43AM (#13977547)
    Interesting, but in every company I have worked at; the language used depends upon the current hosting environment used by the client.

    I'm all for "increased developer productivity", however in the work place I have yet to even use Ruby.

    Oh well, .NET 2.0 is sure to kill me (or fry my chip due to the CPU requirements or their IDEs) so I guess it doesn't matter anyway.
    • Hey, maybe you should discuss this with Steve Jobs. He is locking Mac OS X on intel with a special chip. It should be possible to use a same kind of chip to lock out certain OS too. That way you won't have the risk of IDEs frying you or your CPU.
    • >> Oh well, .NET 2.0 is sure to kill me (or fry my chip due to the CPU requirements or their IDEs) so I guess it doesn't matter anyway.

      Why? Is your processor older than 5 years? VS2005 (at least the Express Edition) just needs 600 MHz - 1 GHz. Hardly obscene for a new RAD tool.

      SharpDevelop (CVS edition supports .NET 2.0) will probably chug along on an older processor.
  • by master_p ( 608214 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @06:46AM (#13977557)
    For something so grand as they claim, their first job would be to post an evaluation download for everyone to see. I followed the links, but I found nothing; I only found lots of buzzwords, claims and hype.

    I don't claim Morfik is vaporware. But let's see it first, and then we can say if it is indeed 'VB 1.0 for the web'.
  • Languages & Morfik (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jurt1235 ( 834677 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @06:46AM (#13977558) Homepage
    Morfik claims to be the next generation IDE. Totally for the webbrowser. So what do they build it with: Delphi.
    That is not being true to yourself. Build an AJAX version than to show the power of what you believe in.
    An AJAX version would also make the more and more preferred development environments accessible to them: Mac OS X and Linux (Around me I hear more and more developers choosing for Linux as their main platform, and if Apple would release OS X for the cheap intel hardware, that they will try that too, at least just to see).
    • You really want to build a compiler in Javascript?
      • Compiler for what? JavaScript is interpreted, so no compilation is necessary.If you are writing an app 100% in JavaScript, you might want to "compile" your app into a single page containing all the CSS, JavaScript and HTML, but I wouldn't exactly call that compiling.
        • rtfa: "implement the business logic of their application in a high-level object-oriented language of their choice. Morfik then automatically compiles this code into a JavaScript AJAX engine."

          Also: "The process is a true compilation and avoids boilerplates or code snippet libraries. The source code is put through a parser which includes a tokenizer and syntax analyzer. The parser output is then passed to a semantic map builder which creates a detailed semantic map that conveys the entire 'meaning' of the
      • Why not? There's nothing inherently bad with the language. And most of the time time you're compiling from one C derived language to another, and you don't really care about the readability and maintainability of the output (unlike in a conversion tool). You don't have any complicated optimizations to do like when you are compiling to machine language, and you don't have to worry about sqeezing all that logic into a handful of registers and primitive operations.
        • Why not? There's nothing inherently bad with the language.

          You can't be serious. The very worst thing about the AJAX phenomenon is that is has lended credibility to that godawful language.

          • You can't be serious. The very worst thing about the AJAX phenomenon is that is has lended credibility to that godawful language.

            Ah yes, the world's most misunderstood programming language [].

            You might find that most of your beef with Javascript lies with its common implementations in web browsers, an entirely different thing to the language itself, and something that people often get confused.

          • Always be clear on the distinction between a language and (a) its implementation and (b) the environment it operates in.

            There is no sense I can think of in which javascript, as a language, is inferior to C, which is perfectly adequate for writing compilers of any complexity.

            • There is no sense I can think of in which javascript, as a language, is inferior to C, which is perfectly adequate for writing compilers of any complexity.

              Javascript as a language is inerior to C for some reason:

              a) machine language, plenty, processor specific
              b) assembler, also plenty a little bit abstract but still processor family specific
              c) Fortran / C / APL / probably COBOL, procecessor unspecific, instruction oriented (procedural) languages
              d) SmallTalk / C++ / Java / Javascript / Python, object oriented
        • " You really want to build a compiler in Javascript?"

          " Why not? There's nothing inherently bad with the language."

          Do you realize how complicated compilers are? Do you know how long it would take javascript to compile 100,000 lines of code? It has trouble just parsing some html (takes a couple seconds) and that's just looking for a couple specific tags! You've got to be joking.
          • Yeah, I do.

            But I also realize that all compilation tasks are not necessarily equally complex. I also am pretty sure that if you can write a compiler in C, you can also write one in Javascript.
            • Sure you could, but why? Why accept horrid performance just to say that you could do it, expecially considering no one would ever use it without it being fast?

              And although all compilation tasks arn't equally complex, some are VERY complex, and there are lots of variable tracking and linking, not to mention the inheritance and objects that must be handled. Maybe in environments beyond a browser, javascript can be much much faster, but in my personal experience it would be like asking an old man with a w
              • Why accept horrid performance just to say that you could do it,

                Not to say you can do it. Being self-hosting is a very important goal for a software tool. Software tools that are self-hosting necessarily have a certain degree of robustness which non-self-hosting tools may not have.

                In any case, there is no reason that performance needs to be horrible at all because of the language, at least in this case. The individual interpreter in, say, Mozilla might not be optimized for this kind of thing; I don't know
    • I plan on making a PHP Visual IDE for PHP+AJAX applications. The whole concept will be something like VB (more like Delphi, since it will be OO) and runs in a browser. So far, it's in the basic beta stages, but it works really well. It uses PHP objects to represent CSS tags and HTML tags, and each "object" has actions that will call PHP code (the idea is to take learning an extra language out of AJAX programming, and to create a visual environment).

      So, you'll be able to drag and drop and place visually i
    • Morfic should be rewritten in Morfik.
  • What Morfik is (Score:2, Informative)

    by axonis ( 640949 )
    Morfik is a professional Integrated Development Environment. The developer starts with designing the data layer in a visual environment similar to Microsoft Access or Microsoft Enterprise Manager. This is usually followed by the design of data base queries which again is carried out in a powerful visual environment. For the presentation layer the developer creates forms and reports using a familiar visual environment that resembles VB and Delphi. The application logic is written in the developer's object or
  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @07:09AM (#13977622)
    I really want to take a look at Morfik Basic, Morfik Pascal, Morfik C# or Morfik Java in action. Any one care to post sample code? What about screenshots?
  • by zxSpectrum ( 129457 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @07:17AM (#13977639) Homepage Journal

    Assuming that they actually eat their own dog food, and use their own tool to create their Own site [], I wouldn't trust this tool. Their site is an inaccessible piece of table-based rubble with missing alternative texts all over the place. Not even Slashdot in it's old incarnation was this ugly, standards-wise.

    Adding to that, their site is severly SEO-deoptimized, which might -- now that I think of it -- be a good thing to end-users, as this will undoubtedly reduce the spread of said markup rubble

    • I think you've confused interactive site development with good site design. It's pretty easy to write a bad GUI for a stand alone app (desktop) in Java or C++, just as it's pretty easy to write a bad page design for a page centric app on the web. The point is that AJAX lets you write non-page centric apps on the web, and this tool supports that.

      Actually, I take it as a good sign that they are focusing on their tech and not their site.

      • Actually, I take it as a good sign that they are focusing on their tech and not their site.

        Well, logically you can only infer they are not focusing on their site.

        In fact, I'd go further to say that since it's easy to hire a competent web designer, either they don't understand the importance of design, or they've confounded concerns in such a way that a web designer can't do anything with their site, or both.

        Professionalism in one area may not be evidence of professionalism in another, but unprofessionalism
      • "Actually, I take it as a good sign that they are focusing on their tech and not their site."

        Fine for any other company , but not for one that sells a web development tool.
        It would be like someone selling themself as the worlds best car mechanic turning
        up in some smoking , sputtering, rusting old clunker. Would you believe anything
        he said if you saw that?
      • But ... for a web development firm to have no one on site who understands web development well enough to write up a good site ... it doesn't bode well for how their tool will understand web development. Or in other words: if their site suggests no one there either cares enough or knows enough to develop a good site for their product, why should I trust that they know enough or care enough to develop a good website development tool.

  • by Qa1 ( 592969 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @07:57AM (#13977711)

    This is basically a commercial for some source software package. They haven't released code. They haven't even releasd a closed source evaluation version. All they "released" is some web page with lots of hysterical marketing hype and unsubstantiated vague buzzwords ("JST").

    So why, again, is this on /.?

  • So, cruising around their site, the only thing I can find is a bunch of marketing buzzwords and a screenshot of google.

    I am sorry I gave these bozos any traffic.

  • I think the demand for unplugged applications is on the way down and it's only going to get smaller. Just think, how useful your computer is when not connected to the network?

  • by kmmatthews ( 779425 ) <> on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @08:28AM (#13977779) Homepage Journal
    How can anyone possibly claim this isn't an ad?


    For god sakes, that's like saying "WOW!!! THIS IS AS FUN AS AIDS!"
  • From the site:
    "To demonstrate these powerful capabilities, two Morfik programmers used Morfik JST to build a desktop version of Google's Gmail in just 2 months! The application they created is a pixel-by-pixel match of Gmail's interface and functionality, yet it also works offline just like standard email clients such as Microsoft Outlook..."

    2 Months?! That doesn't sound like any rapid app development to me. I can go make a copy of gmail in about 3 hours just by downloading the HTML/javascript. Also, it "works" just like Outlook? I'm not sure that's a feature!
    • Yeah I was thinking just the same thing. Two months? I doubt the google team took that long. Here's the problem I have with most Visual IDE environments- they can either expediate development or slow it down to a crawl. Sometimes theier ease of use goes against them, and makes things much more complicated than they need be.
    • Also, it "works" just like Outlook? I'm not sure that's a feature!

      Not sure how serious you're trying to be, so I'll bite.

      The works just like Outlook statement is (from the original quoted text) a reference to working offline - i.e., the emails, directories (or whatever they are in GMail) are stored locally, in some form of DB/file system, so that you can read/search them when you are not connected to the internet (and presumably downloaded from any pop/imap server).

      Would your 3 hour one do this? If so, cou

    • That was my first thought too when I saw this a month or so ago. As AJAX interfaces go, Gmail is actually incredibly simple (which is probably what makes it so attractive). I could probably recreate it by myself in under a month, given enough free time (or the ability to work on it while at my real job, as I'm assuming these two did). An exact replica of the gmail interface in four man months? BFD.

      Not to mention the "bonus" that they were able to write the entire thing in pascal while never touching a li
  • by ralf1 ( 718128 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @09:02AM (#13977895)
    My RSS feed truncated the title as "Morfik and Rapid Development of Modern We". Somehow my brain assumed "We" was going to be "weapons" - Morfik just seemed like a Defense Department kind of name for a top secret weapons project.

    I was really hoping for some kind of macho article about "this new technology can kill effortlessly 10,000 civilians using a rechargable solar battery as a power source, making it a exceptional weapon and environmentally conscious as well"

    Life is full of these little disappointments....
  • I understand the promotion of programs/apps/etc. on slashdot in the "ask" sections, but is it totally necessary to whore out slashdot for corporate press relaeases?
  • Looks cool but? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @09:33AM (#13978031)
    Ok nifty idea but how does it perform in the real world. How well does it optimize the code to make up for the dismally slow IE java script engine. Both browsers could use some java script engine speed improvements but IE darn sure needs alot of help. Of course I don't expect the monopoly to do this as it is not in their best interest to allow applications to run in this fashion as it neutralizes their platform.
  • it makes code easier to read []
  • From their site:
    "What is the Morfik Pioneers Program?
    The Morfik Pioneers Program is for technology visionaries, commentators and practitioners who see the current web as an embryonic form of a global operating system and the WebOS as major development in this process. ...
    The Morfik Pioneers Program allows such enthusiastic individuals ... to contribute to its evolution within this vision. ... Pioneers will be able to influence the direction of Morfik's technology and to share insights about future direction
    • I always worry about this sort of thing since they're going to try to tempt me into using a tool that after the beta period, I find that I could not possibly afford. Then all the time I spend working on it is wasted.

      There's a competing product called backbase that goes for either almost $1,000 or almost $6,000 a server depending on how you use it. Since my new project requires a dedicated server, it's $6,000. I might consider $1,000, but $6,000? No way on the planet.

      At least Backbase (which has a tag la
  • This all looks and sounds like a pile of steaming dog turd. Why else hide behind marketing hype?
  • by idlake ( 850372 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:17AM (#13978711)
    It had to happen: a compiler with a JavaScript backend...
  • For all the complaining y'all are doing about these guys, they sure are getting a lot of play. Google morfik. It might be a well-orchestrated campaign of lies and deceit, but at first blush it doesn't look that way.
  • They just give me a email with subject "Confirmation of your Morfik Pioneers Registration" and content:

    Thank you for applying to be part of the Morfik Pioneers Program. Your application is being reviewed by the Pioneers coordinator who is responsible for providing successful applicants with the login details to the Program.

    I just wonder how hard would they just giving people direct access to their vapour-buzzword-like application?
  • Who do you have to bribe for articles like this? And how much?

    Or is there any other reason why an article submission for my GPLed webapplication framework gets rejected, but a ridiculously over-priced, closed-source, windows-only offering, whose main feature seems to be buzz-word compliance and marketing-droid BS, gets free PR?


  • My Bullshitt-Meter just pegged... Check out what a Google search for " inurl:media" pulls up: d_Unplugged.pdf []

    They made a presentation of another demo, then made one of GMAIL. Both use almost exactly the same language, it just looks like some marketer did a find-replace on Northwind. Both were made in 2 weeks for a protoype, and 2 months for a full version.



  • The claim that morfik can "compile" any source code in any language, extract the "meaning", and replicate it is not very credible. For example, if the meaning of my code is "Halt", then they've solved the Halting problem.

Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. -- Thomas Jefferson