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JackBe NQ Suite 4.6.1
The last time I took a look at JackBe NQ Suite, the product was an IDE that let you build complete applications in a browser. It was like a newer, more streamlined version of Tibco’s General Interface without some of the sophisticated graphics. That core product has gotten better, and the scope of the product line has grown dramatically.
NQ Suite now offers a clean, crisp IDE called the JackBuilder. It’s a more mature approach that’s a bit easier to use. Although the user interface of the JackBuilder tool seems to have fewer buttons than Tibco’s tool, this simplicity may be an advantage. I often found myself getting lost in Tibco’s menus.
The most interesting part of the JackBe toolkit is on the horizon. The company is putting the finishing touches on Presto, a server-based back end for the tool that will knit together a wide range of Web services and translate the data into a simpler form that can be sent to the client. This adds another layer to the software stack in the hopes of reducing Web traffic and simplifying security.
JackBe points out, for instance, that it is substantially easier to consume Web services behind your firewall than it is to release their XML packets directly to the client. Legacy Web services floating around an IT shop may not have all of the security necessary for opening them to the public. It’s easier to let Presto make decisions about each client and then send the request off in its name than to get some uncooperative division to retool their Web service.
This change also allows JackBe to enhance the connection. Clients that use Web services must initialize the XMLHttpRequest operation, something that’s generally acceptable unless you want the server to tell something to the browser. For example, a browser-based e-mail system, such as Google’s Gmail, won’t notice a new letter until it initiates a check or you push the refresh button.
JackBe’s Presto architecture can offer “pure push” by keeping the connection up as long as it’s needed. This allows you to build more interactive tools when you need to constantly keep data moving to the user. If you want to build a news ticker or chat into your application, this feature is a big architectural advantage.
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