What Problem Domain Does Formspider Address?

Formspider addresses the same problem that Oracle Forms was built for, some twenty years ago: Enabling PL/SQL Developers build great enterprise applications with just PLSQL.

At its height, Forms was great for that. Its only programming language was PL/SQL. The applications built with it ran on any platform. For example, I built applications that run on Windows. To this date, I still don’t know a single Windows API. I wrote in PL/SQL, using Forms PL/SQL API’s and Forms took care of the rest.

Since PL/SQL cannot really run anywhere but in the database, some brilliant engineers at Oracle had to convert all the PL/SQL code I wrote as a teenager, to C, C++ or whatever so that my applications can run in Windows. I still don’t know what they have done. I never needed to know. I never cared. My focus was on implementing business requirements in PL/SQL and deliver results to my clients. Forms took care of the rest. That was the beauty of Oracle Forms. Applications built in Oracle Forms are platform agnostic.

I don’t want to be one of those old guys who tell stories, hell I am only 35, but one day, a new Oracle Forms version came out and whola!. All of our Forms applications were now running in browsers. All the old applications were upgraded to the new version with virtually no refactoring. I even remember a Forms Developer version that had two run buttons: One for running the application on Desktop and one for running it in a browser. The same code base could be deployed in different platforms. This was ten years ago.

Not everything was peachy in Forms. It had a lot of problems. Its application model was outdated. Its layout capabilities were just sad. In the browser it ran as a Java Applet which is just awful, etc…etc..etc…

However the idea of platform agnostic application development using one programming language across all the application layers was brilliant 20 years ago and it still is.

Formspider is built around these principles. Formspider is a platform agnostic application development tool that uses one programming language across all layers. That programming language is PL/SQL.

In Formspider, we got rid of the shortcomings that prepared Oracle Forms’ demise. We use a modern development model with view and model layers separated. You can design your user interfaces in different layouts. We deploy applications built with Formspider as DHTML/JavaScript applications. They are all 100% AJAX by default.

However, we kept all the beauty of Oracle Forms which made it so successful. PL/SQL Developers can build applications for any platform without knowing the API’s of that particular platform. Today, Formspider deploys Java Desktop and Web 2.0 Applications. Tomorrow, we will deploy to other platforms be it iOS, Mobile Web, Flash or whatever. Our only programming language is PL/SQL across the board. There is no need to learn any other programming language. Developers can spend their energy on solving problems instead of learning new ways to fight the same problems.

We also kept Formspider simple, intuitive and fun. The beauty of a platform is not in how complex it is. Its beauty is in making it possible for developers to create complex things. Formspider is as simple as a pen. The developer writes the story.

Yalım K. Gerger

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