Not one technology and one tool can serve every purpose. Depending on the task at hand tools can be customized to do an effective job of that task. There are constant reports in the press that IT has a strong skills shortage while the same IT is laying off on a regular basis. The disconnect is coming because IT is not capitalizing on two important resources. The legacy programmers (Mainframe, as400, cobol, relational developers) and new hires. If IT can effectively use these knowledgable and less expensensive resources to develop dynamically driven web pages on a universal and free platform like Java and Tomcat, then they solve the problem not only for themselves but for the whole economy as well.
Aspire is a freely available open sourced server side tool with a very small foot print (2Megs) designed to work with Tomcat and written in Java so that legacy programmers and entry level programmers can effectively develop web sites with medium level complexity. Aspire provides an abstraction for these programmers to start working with advanced cocepts from day one while giving them a migration path to understand and learn J2EE principles in a gradual fashion.
Aspire has another wicked advantage for the IT. Following the REST principles every page that is developed with aspire is automatically enabled with no additional coding for XML, Text, Excel, Java Language binding, C# binding and hence the same web site can work for B2B and B2C
Aspire also has an innovative approach to solve the documentation problem in open sourced solutions using Knowledge Folders.
Although Aspire presents a very simplistic front to the developers it has the following advanced principles as part of its architecture
- A uniquely unified configuration and factory service
- Declarative data objects providing relational, hierarchical, and Object data abstractions while staying completely declarative across multiple data sources
- Typed and untyped, lazy loading Hierarchical Data Sets
- Generating XML and consuming XML directly from and into databases using declarations
- Multiple transformations: Tags, JSP, XSLT
- Plugins for JetSpeed allowing auto publishing of database data using a predefined portlet
- Reusable parts architecture
- Transactional pipe lines for business logic
- Declarative web navigation
References in the press
Aspire and its technogies have been published largely at O'Reilly at the following links
1. Taking advantage of declarative programming 2. Declarative Data access strategies in Aspire 1. Relational abstraction using JDBC 2. Hierarchical Data abstraction using JDBC 3. Declarative data objects 4. Typed Hierarchical data sets 3. Pluggable transformations 1. JSP 2. Tags 3. XSLT 4. XML generation consumtpion 1. How to generate XML using declarations from databases 2. How to consume XML into databases using declarations 5. How to develop web sites for B2C and B2B simultaneously 1. Role of hierarchical data sets 2. Role of declarativity 3. Role of generic transforms 4. Role of specific transforms 6. Value proposition to the IT 1. Use all your programmers irrespective of their skill levels 2. Parallel develop your sytems 3. Develop faster, cheaper and better 4. Reuse your legacy programming assets: stored procedures, CICS transactions etc.