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June 2011

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June 2011 news

June 2011:

Success Story – Electos Web Service

As keen users of the Electos Content Management System, we were only too pleased to help a customer who was experiencing performance issues with their Electos website recently.

The main issue was that the customer’s website was running unacceptably slowly for the users, taking between 7-10 seconds to navigate between pages. Due to the information that the users needed to access, in addition to the standard navigation menu, an additional A-Z index of pages had also been included, and this was one of the primary suspects of the slow speed.

Identifying the Problem

As Mike suspected, further investigation identified the A-Z index as a culprit of the slow basic page generation. The system design meant that the menu and index content were being regenerated every time a user requested a page. Mike calculated that for the roughly 130 pages that were being indexed, the ASP code was making well in excess of 700 calls to the Electos web application. Not only was this a bad situation, but one that would only get worse as more pages were added.

The Solution

Of the three proposed solutions we offered, the customer opted for the one that would first create a page without the A-Z index content, or the menu content, and then use a mechanism which would load that content after the page had been displayed to the user.

To find out more about how the issues were identified, the different solutions that we presented to the customer and how the chosen solution was implemented, read Case Study: Electos Web Service on our website.

Changes to Visual DataFlex Web Application Server Licensing Options

Data Access Worldwide have announced new licensing options are now available that offer developers even more flexibility for deploying Web applications with lower licensing costs, including a new Workgroup Edition featuring a limited, 5-session application server with process pooling, and the option to deploy Lite Edition Servers in 5-session blocks.

The Web Application Server licensing options are now:

  • New – Lite Edition – Supports up to 5 concurrent sessions and does not support process pooling. Electos can be deployed on a Lite Edition server, however, due to its session limits, the Lite Edition server is not recommended for production websites.
  • New – Workgroup Edition – A limited, 5-session application server with process pooling intended for high reliability, high performance application support in limited-demand, workgroup Internet or Intranet environments.
  • Internet Edition – Supports unlimited number of concurrent sessions or browser connections subject to the limits of the Web Server’s resources and Internet infrastructure. Supports process pooling. The Internet Edition licence allows users to host commercial websites.
  • Enterprise Edition – Manages the combination of up to 255 Internet Edition servers in a cluster configuration to allow for highly scalable, load-balancing, fault tolerant web application servers. At least one Internet Edition Web Application Server and one Enterprise Edition Server is required to create a true Enterprise Edition Cluster configuration. To gain application load balancing and fail-over protection, at least two Internet Edition slave servers must be installed with an Enterprise Edition server.

Find out the prices for the new Web Application Server licensing options.

Sample Applications Using Ajax, JSON and JSONP

While working on recent projects, Mike has explored alternative ways of implementing Ajax and JSON solutions. Throughout the heartache process, Mike rustled up the following sample applications:

  • The VDF Ajax JSON Interface Sample
  • The VDF Ajax JSONP Interface Sample

Both samples very neatly demonstrate how you can interact with the Visual DataFlex (VDF) Ajax interface using either JSON or JSONP as the communication protocol. Each sample has a description of why and how it was created, along with supporting whitepapers about the JSON protocol and JSONP, and articles covering subjects such as the JSON Parser, the JSON web service and the HTML and JavaScript Client all of which play an important role in the process.

Rather than keeping all Mike’s sterling work to ourselves, we’d like to share the results of his blood, sweat and tears with other developers who may also have been charged with finding the answers to similar questions. We hope they are useful to you.

The VDF Ajax JSON Interface Sample

This sample illustrates how to use JSON as the communication protocol to interact with VDF, and also how it can be achieved using only HTML, JavaScript and web services – no ASP (hence no VBScript or global.asa) or cookies are involved.

Read the full story and and try out the VDF Ajax JSON Interface Sample.

The VDF Ajax JSONP Interface Sample

Along the same lines as the JSON Interface sample, this sample illustrates how to use JSONP as the communication protocol to interact with VDF. However, using JSONP presented a raft of new technical challenges over and above using JSON.

This sample discusses the architecture considerations, drilling down on the ASP script required for the web service, the additional web object and the JavaScript Client

Find out more and try the VDF Ajax JSONP Interface Sample.

Congratulations to Data Access in their 35th Year

This week Mike realised that he has been using DataFlex for 25 years!

Clearly, we couldn’t believe this to be the case and that it must be more like 35 15 years, but it is indeed true. While checking the dates, we saw that Data Access Worldwide was founded in 1976 (35 years ago).

So, congratulations Data Access on your 35th year.

Fuelled by a trip down memory lane, we noted these other dates of interest:

  • 1911 (100 years ago) – IBM started as the Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation
  • 1981 (30 years ago) – DataFlex was first released
  • 1991 (20 years ago) – DataFlex 3.0 was released (Mike remembers it well!)

We won’t bore you with any more dates now, but there could be the threat of a quiz in the future.