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IBM R&D Labs in Israel News

IBM Application Creator for Business Users

Bringing the power of WebSphere sMash to Business Users – now available on Project Zero

The IBM Application Creator for Business Users is a lightweight, web-based, application-development platform for business users, business analysts, and anyone who wants to cut down development time and effort. Now anyone, in any size organization, can quickly create business applications that solve everyday tasks.

Starting this week, an evaluation version of the IBM Application Creator for Business Users is available for download from Project Zero, a community site for WebSphere sMash.  This availability comes on the heels of the tool’s successful use to increase registration at IMPACT 2009, where researchers at the Haifa Research Lab created the web-based Agenda Preview Tool  to help customers get updated information on the IMPACT agenda. The tool was used by over 2000 customers in two weeks, who were very positive about its value. From left to right: Nili Guy, Asaf Adi, Maya Barnea, Ariel Landau, Samuel Kallner, Gal Shachor, Yoav Rubin
From left to right: Nili Guy, Asaf Adi, Maya Barnea, Ariel Landau,
Samuel Kallner, Gal Shachor, Yoav Rubin
 
 “Business activity is moving online, and we’re helping people keep up with this trend—enabling them to quickly build an application that meets their business goals, without programmers or IT personnel,” explained Asaf Adi, Manager of Simplified Middleware & Tools at IBM’s Haifa, Israel Research Lab. “People can now focus on the business problem at hand, forget about the programming aspects, and stop worrying about return of a big investment in time and IT resources.”

What’s inside

What’s inside
 
The IBM Application Creator for Business Users has a web-styled interface that let’s users quickly assemble applications using a hosted development environment. It’s all based on a simple visual front end that incorporates wizards, drag and drop arrangements, widgets, and simple layout tools. Users can forget about technical details like page structure, navigation, database records, and data validation. It’s all taken care of behind the scenes.

In short, there’s something to be gained by everyone. Business users can focus on the logic and basic building blocks, without having to be familiar with database schemas and environment configurations. Because all applications are centrally hosted, the CIO and IT department can easily manage and control the security, backup, and compliance with regulations. Even the more skilled sMash developers can get a quick jump start on their applications and save time by letting the tool handle repetitive and time consuming tasks.

An example of how everyone benefits
Jane, who manages the Alligator Banking Company (ABC) in Florida wants to organize seminars that reach out to baby boomers with offers for better interest, free credit cards, mortgage, and more. Her local branch managers will be responsible for setting up meetings, organizing breakfast seminars at places where seniors congregate, and then following up with direct contact. Jane wants to approve all expenses associated with the campaign and get regular reports on the events, participants, and customer details.
Normally Jane would start with an Excel file sheet. But with so many branches in Florida, working with over 40 different Excel sheets will be a battle. Jane heads to the IT department and asks if they can develop an application.  The IT department says “We have a bit of a backlog issue, we can have it ready in five months.” Jane can’t wait and would like the intern on her team to build the application. But where do they start? This is where the IBM Application Creator for Business Users comes in – with something in it for everyone.

An example of how everyone benefits

  • ABC manager Jane – has a timely solution for managing her baby boomers campaign events and expenses, without having to deal with Excel sheets, email reports in various formats, faxes, and printouts.
  • Intern/analyst/developer – can quickly and easily put together a web application that meets the bank’s immediate business needs. More skilled programmers can also customize the application to extend functionality.
  • IT department – can ensure the application’s information is secured, backed up, and accessed only by authorized individuals.
  • Managers of local branches – have a convenient web application for keeping track of events, expenses, and customer details. No need to send weekly reports to the central office.

“Success is always easier to achieve when you can stay focused on your goal,” concludes Adi. “We’re helping people develop situational applications in a way that let’s them think about ‘what’ they want to do, and not ‘how’ to get it done.”