FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions about Spin
IRAD Internet Rapid Application DevelopmentQ: What is RAD?
A: RAD (Rapid Application Development) tools, as opposed to conventional programming tools, make it far easier to build sophisticated computer applications. They are based on the powerful concept of rapid prototyping, where you build a large application one piece at a time trying it out, finding and fixing bugs, making improvements, and even getting feedback from users every step of the way. RAD is an especially good way to develop applications (like Internet applications) that must evolve quickly in response to changing needs. Advanced RAD tools even make it possible for nonprogrammers to assemble or modify applications that otherwise would have required programmers.
The term RAD Tool is commonly used to describe popular client-server business application development tools like PowerBuilder or Visual Basic. But the term also applies in many other areas. For example, spreadsheet tools like VisiCalc, Lotus 1-2-3, and Excel enable accountants and business people (or anyone else) to build complex financial models, and modify them rapidly to test out new ideas. Multimedia authoring tools like Director and mTropolis enable artists and designers to build interactive rich media presentations. The list goes on and on; almost every popular tool today, from word processors to business applications, is a RAD tool that allows nonprogrammers to accomplish tasks that previously were only possible through programming.
RAD tools are typically visual (graphical) rather than text oriented, and are based on concepts like WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), and authoring technologies like direct manipulation.
One problem with RAD environments is that they tend to be based on proprietary technologies and languages, rather than standard ones. On the Internet, which is based on open standards, this is not acceptable.
Spin is the first and only standards-based Rapid Application Development environment for the Internet.
What are server-side and client-side programs?
However, the web became successful and popular in the first place because almost anyone can create a web page. HTML can be learned in a hour or two, and web page authoring tools make creating web pages as easy as using a word processor. On the other hand, creating a web page that uses server-side or client-side programs requires difficult programming. Either that or you are limited to using canned scripts and applications.
What are Internet applications?
Why do we need Internet Rapid Application Development?
I've seen other tools that claim to make it easy to create
interactive Internet applications how is Spin different?
Spin is the first and only standards-based IRAD environment. Applications developed with Spin can run on any Web server or any Web application server. Spin works with other standards-based tools, including programming tools.
See the Spin overview page
for a discussion of the features that make Spin unique.
Component architectures not only make software easier and faster to build, they also make software more reliable, secure, and scalable.
The first widespread component architecture was CORBA; competing component architectures were introduced by both Microsoft and Apple. Spin is based on the JavaBeans component architecture. JavaBeans have several crucial advantages over other component architectures. These advantages are what made it possible to build Spin out of JavaBeans.
ConvergenceQ: What is the Internet Convergence?
A: The Internet has brought on a great convergence, not only for computers but for practically every area of our life, including business, education, entertainment, and communications. Some of this convergence has already happened, but much of it is still happening. There are telephones that can send and receive email, computers that can play DVD movies, TVs (and even microwave ovens) that can browse the web.
Software, of course, is a critical part of this convergence. Differences between what used to be separate kinds of applications are falling away. For example, business apps used to be completely distinct from multimedia apps; in fact, the only medium used by most business applications was cold hard text. Today, business applications are one of the largest users of rich media.
The Web is a major driving force of the Internet Convergence. The same Web browser that can be used for viewing online photo albums can also be used for making stock transactions, looking up phone numbers, or millions of other applications.
The most far reaching aspect of the convergence is in the area of communication. Communications used to be separate from Computation all work was done on individual computers using separate applications, and networks were used only to transport data between computers. Now, everything wants to be connected, people want to collaborate, and integration is the big problem. Increasingly the Network is what is important, and Computers are a commodity.
The convergence will be accelerated by the adoption of component architectures,
since any component will be able to be used in any application.
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