Welcome!

Weblogic Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Michael Meiner, Michael Bushong, Avi Rosenthal

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Article

Gen-it for Java 1.1 by Codagen

Gen-it for Java 1.1 by Codagen

Test Environment
Client/Server:
Client: Dell Precision 410, 128MB RAM, 18GB disk drive,
Windows NT Workstation 4.0 SP 5

Codagen Technologies Corporation
2075 University St., Suite 1020
Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3A 2L1
Phone: 514 288-4802
Fax: 514 288-2446
www.codagen.com

Pricing:
Gen-it for Java $4,900/ Developer
Batch-it for Java $295/ Developer

In last month's issue of JDJ (Vol. 5 issue 6) I talked about the concept of using frameworks to automate the development of J2EE applications. Armed with this concept I took a look at Codagen Technologies' Gen-it for Java 1.1.

Codagen's product is designed around the basic premise that much of the lower-level structural code within an application is highly repetitive. Routine tasks such as persisting objects into the database, managing locks and performing integrity checks can be easily generated from a template rather than built from scratch each time.

Codagen's product is slightly different from a typical application generator in that it works in conjunction with frameworks that you may already have built. (In fact, Codagen has a partnership with IBM to leverage their San Francisco object framework with Gen-it for Java.) In the following sections I'll take a look at installing and using Gen-it for Java using one of their sample projects.

Installing and Configuring Gen-it for Java
I downloaded the 1.1 release of Gen-it for Java from Codagen's Web site. (Since this article was written, version 1.2 has been released.) The InstallShield setup kit is a little under 9MB in size and installs quickly and easily. Codagen uses Globetrotter's FlexLM software to control licensing for Gen-it for Java, but the downloaded installation kit is preconfigured with a demo license key already installed. When all is said and done, the installation process was a quick and painless affair - I had Gen-it up and running in about 15 minutes. One factor worth mentioning is that Gen-it for Java requires either Rational Rose or Visual Modeler (a version integrating with Telelogic's Tau, formerly Sterling's Cool:Jex, is scheduled for beta this month) to be installed on your local machine before the Gen-it installation can proceed. If you want to test Gen-it for yourself, you'll need to acquire one of the modeling tools in advance. (Rational allows you to download Rational Rose Enterprise Edition 2000 for a 20-day trial period as well.) Once the product is installed, it's a simple process to start working with Gen-it.

Working with Gen-it for Java
Codagen provides a tutorial that describes the basic value proposition for Gen-it for Java, and I would recommend going through it as a starting point. The Codagen folks believe strongly that frameworks are just as important for small and medium projects as they are for large projects - and the introduction section of the tutorial is dedicated to explaining this concept. As IT professionals and application developers we're certainly living in a time of tight deadlines and complex projects. I'd argue that very few projects in today's world are actually "small" projects. Sure, they might start out small; but they often end up being much larger efforts over the life of the application. Does this mean that we're underestimating the initial development effort in the first place? Not necessarily. We've all learned the lesson that large, multiyear projects are less likely to be successful than smaller, tactical projects. (We may be short on empirical evidence for this hypothesis, but it appears to be so from anecdotal evidence.) The result of this collective experience has been a trend toward projects that are much shorter in duration. This doesn't mean that we simply ignore larger, more complex, long-term projects. Rather, we have a better chance of success in managing large projects if we can break them down into a series of smaller projects with highly focused goals. Even projects that appear to be smaller in scope can grow as the needs of the business change. For many companies the first step into the Internet is a simple Web site soon to be followed by a dynamically generated Web site, online payment, interfaces to partners - the list is endless. Of course, one result of taking a large, complex project and breaking it down into smaller, more manageable chunks is that without a proper game plan it can lead to chaos. This is exactly where the folks at Codagen have designed the Gen-it product to play. Tackling larger projects (or small projects that grow into large projects over the life of the application) becomes possible when you use a well-planned architecture.

Gen-it is designed with the idea of removing the burden of implementing repetitive code from the hands of the programmer. It differs somewhat from typical frameworks in that it has been designed to work in conjunction with a framework. Thus, while most framework products are harnessed into the programmer's interactive development environment (IDE), Gen-it is plugged into the modeling environment. Figure 1 shows this relationship graphically.

The implied development methodology that Gen-it follows starts with a UML model. Having defined the model, you then choose a prefabricated framework for deployment (such as EJB or San Francisco). Once you have the framework, you then use the Gen-it tools to create a set of templates that would be used to harness the framework to your UML model. A thorough understanding of UML isn't required as Gen-it currently uses only the UML class diagram. Furthermore, Gen-it doesn't affect the visual representation of a UML model. It simply uses the items found in the static view - the class diagram - as convenient holders for extra structural information.

Codagen recommends you make use of their consulting resources in order to evaluate the Gen-it for Java product, and based on my experiences with it I would have to agree. While the tutorial attempts to walk you through the development process using the simple "Memento" framework model, inexperienced developers aren't likely to pick up on the benefits through the tutorial. Version 1.2 has reworked the tutorial to address these shortcomings.

The main interface for Gen-it is the organizer (see Figure 2), used by application architects in creating and managing templates. Templates define the specific actions implemented for the various classes in your application. In essence, the templates map the framework to your UML model.

Individual developers can be given access to the templates for use in generating code using the Batch-it interface. While Gen-it allows the application architect to modify templates, Batch-it developers are restricted to code generation based on the templates. In this way you can prevent individual developers from straying away from the framework by consolidating template management to a smaller subset of critical developers. Gen-it's real power is based on this template feature - but it's difficult to get the true flavor of templates from the downloadable kit. Even if you were able to work with templates extensively in the downloadable version, I would still recommend that you take advantage of Codagen's consulting services in evaluating Gen-it for Java. The real value in this product is in the creation and deployment of a framework throughout your application. By working closely with the Codagen experts, you're much more likely to get the most out of the templates interface. (The tutorial and user guides aren't enough to get you rolling with Gen-it on a real project.) If you're familiar with Rational Rose, at least, then part of the overall learning curve will be much easier. Gen-it for Java is linked directly into the Rational Rose IDE (see Figure 3).

The evaluation kit includes several Rational Rose models, including the Banking Model shown in Figure 3. Using the Gen-it tools within Rational Rose allows you to record design decisions directly in your UML model. Gen-it properties are attached to the UML model by means of External Properties, which are specific to a class, attribute or role. Gen-it uses the external properties that you set in the model to apply template definitions to your generated code. Once you select a set of classes (or packages) in your model and choose the "Gen-it" option from the menu, the Organizer interface will appear as shown in Figure 2. (Codagen provides an option that will allow Gen-it to write the generated code directly into IBM's Visual Age for Java as well.) The result is a fairly seamless transition from UML to code - provided that you have the proper templates.

Summary
The twin problems of limited resources and short deadlines can be mitigated by leveraging application frameworks. Codagen's Gen-it for Java product is a useful tool for connecting frameworks to models. Though Gen-it does require more than a casual understanding of Java and architecture, Codagen encourages you to use their technical support for evaluation and product issues. It's free and it helps them better understand customer issues. The consulting services can be used for more in-depth issues related to deeper architecture issues. Products such as Gen-it that have the potential to significantly shorten your development cycles are not simply "plugged-in and turned on." However, if you're short on Java programmers and want to make your development resources go farther, then a little up-front effort can pay big dividends down the road.

More Stories By Jim Milbery

Jim Milbery is a Vice President with William Blair Capital Partners, a venture capital firm based in Chicago. He has over 19 years of experience in application development and relational databases. He is the former applications editor for "Wireless Business and Technology", the past product reviews editor for Java Developer Journal and the author of "Making the Technical Sale". Jim can be reached at [email protected], or via the company web site at http://www.wbcapitalpartners.com

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
DXWorldEXPO LLC, the producer of the world's most influential technology conferences and trade shows has announced the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO "Early Bird Registration" is now open. Register for Full Conference "Gold Pass" ▸ Here (Expo Hall ▸ Here)
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
I think DevOps is now a rambunctious teenager - it's starting to get a mind of its own, wanting to get its own things but it still needs some adult supervision," explained Thomas Hooker, VP of marketing at CollabNet, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Recently, WebRTC has a lot of eyes from market. The use cases of WebRTC are expanding - video chat, online education, online health care etc. Not only for human-to-human communication, but also IoT use cases such as machine to human use cases can be seen recently. One of the typical use-case is remote camera monitoring. With WebRTC, people can have interoperability and flexibility for deploying monitoring service. However, the benefit of WebRTC for IoT is not only its convenience and interopera...
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Robert Cohen, an economist and senior fellow at the Economic Strategy Institute, presented the findings of a series of six detailed case studies of how large corporations are implementing IoT. The session explored how IoT has improved their economic performance, had major impacts on business models and resulted in impressive ROIs. The companies covered span manufacturing and services firms. He also explored servicification, how manufacturing firms shift from se...
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of bus...
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, compared the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, examin...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.