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Magic Software recasts developer tool for Web services

Magic Software has updated its Magic eDeveloper application-building environment to support Web services. One developer said it can produce results faster than Java can, but hard-core coders may not like that it's browser-based.

Magic Software Enterprises has taken the wraps off a new version of its Magic eDeveloper application development tool in an effort to position itself as a Web services player.

Version 9.2 of the company's eDeveloper supports Web services standards Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and Web Services Description Language (WSDL), but product manager Avishai Shafrir said eDeveloper's strength still lies in extending the lifespan of legacy applications.

Since Magic's eDeveloper environment runs exe files as compiled C++ code, a developer can construct a complex program in a table-driven, GUI-based manner without writing a line of code by crafting instruction sets based on existing business logic.

That means applications in a multi-tiered architecture can, for example, be developed or modified to provide a Web service that supports the way databases and J2EE application servers work together.

"If you're a software development house... then you're able to develop an application, and you don't have to worry about platforms. You're able to develop once and, based on what platform you have in shop, you're able to easily customize the application to one of those platforms," Shafrir said.

Magic user Steve Worthington, president of Milton, Mass. Worthington Consulting Inc., said eDeveloper is a versatile application development environment that can produce the same results in a third of the time as Java-based development.

Previous versions of eDeveloper, said Worthington, could only produce stand-alone applications. However, now that Magic has made it J2EE compliant, a program built with eDeveloper and wrapped in Java can run faster than any equivalent program written in pure Java.

Magical speed

Worthington said he recently used Magic to help one of his clients link a SQL Server and an Oracle database. The client wanted to flag database transactions as they were being completed, and originally wrote a Java routine to do the job.

"It took six people three weeks to do it and deploy it," using multiple Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) interfaces, said Worthington. When it was deployed it took four hours to flag only 300 sets of transactions, which was much slower than anticipated.

Using eDeveloper, Worthington helped his client build a Magic-based program that performed the same work using Web services but ran in only eight minutes.

"With the implementation of SOAP and Web services, you can build a Magic application that's now going out and talking to the rest of the world, passing transactional data in and out," said Worthington, "but it's just not mainstream and that's always been its problem."

He said even though eDeveloper is suited to large and mid-sized companies where application interoperability is essential, many shops have had difficulty adjusting from code-based development to browser-based development.

"I've actually been back to that client and said they might want to look at (using eDeveloper), but they're very much a code-oriented shop, and they want to sit down and see code," said Worthington.

Shafrir said it takes about a week to learn.

"Once you understand how the underlying recomputed objects work, you become productive very quickly," Shafrir said.

Pricing for the development environment starts at $5,000. On the deployment side, Magic, which is based in Or Yehuda, Israel, charges either per concurrent user or per application server.

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