A particular challenge in the development of modern applications is not only the technical implementation, but also the design of the graphical user interface. Questions of functionality, design and user experience must be answered. Modern business applications require suitable and attractively designed forms and a well thought-out navigation structure. Ideally, graphically oriented tools are used for the design and final layout. With the help of so-called GUI builders or visual designers, the realization is easier than writing the corresponding source code directly. In any case, the development process is accelerated considerably.
The integrated development environment RapidClipse offers very good support. Part of RapidClipse is a pre-installed and configured GUI builder. The GUI builder used, based on Vaadin, is very powerful and allows designing modern and impressive HTML5 user interfaces. Web-based user interfaces offer the decisive advantage that they automatically adapt to all display sizes and resolutions. The generated applications run in the respective browser of the system and are therefore also platform and device independent.
Today, layout managers are used for device-independent design and alignment of the individual elements of the interface. In practice, their configuration is often considered complicated and not very intuitive. RapidClipse simplifies this process by using wizards. Another important feature for business applications is the support for the design of standard forms. This involves binding selected data fields of the database to input and output fields of a form. With RapidClipse it is possible to generate a form directly from the tables of the database in a fully automated way. Multi-column forms and distribution via tabs are also possible. The design can be manually adjusted afterwards if necessary. The table designer allows numerous settings to be made and extensions to be implemented. It is also possible to get to grips with the tiresome issue of data validation with a minimum of effort. Users can access predefined validators and assign them with a mouse click.
Business applications often have to be adapted to the individual requirements and circumstances, i.e. the cooperate design of the company. This requirement is also supported by the GUI builder in RapidClipse. By means of style definitions, the appearance of the entire user interface can be centrally adapted to the wishes.
An equally advanced solution is provided for the internationalization and localization of user interfaces. The process is largely automated. Character strings used are read out, swapped out into country-specific resource files and replaced by variables. In the language file, the appropriate translation is specified for each entry. At runtime, all texts are automatically assigned according to the language settings.
With RapidClipse, the user interfaces can alternatively be created declaratively with XML code. In this case, the display in the GUI builder and the XML code are always kept in sync.
These and other features of RapidClipse – currently available in version 10 – significantly accelerate the development of business applications. Time and resources are saved during development and a faster time-to-market is achieved.
XDEV Software GmbH is a software company specialized in development, service and training around Java development. Their expertise flows into the further development of their open-source development tool RapidClipse. RapidClipse accelerates the development of Java applications by combining the RAD approach and the world of Java. Free download of the current version at www.rapidclipse.com.