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Web application creation made easy : a SQL-driven rapid development framework and a Do-It- Yourself platform


Building, installing and evolving a custom web application, even one which comprises only Create, Read, Update and Delete (CRUD) pages accessing a single database, is time consuming and expensive. We present two complementary systems that enable the rapid creation, customization and evolution of such a database-driven web application and its pages thereof: a rapid application development framework called FORWARD, and a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) platform called app2you. FORWARD simplifies the development of AJAX web pages by treating them as rendered views, where the programmer specifies a view using visual units and (minimally extended) SQL. Such a declarative approach leads to significantly less code, as the framework automatically solves performance optimization problems that the programmer would otherwise hand-code. Since the pages are fueled by views, FORWARD leverages years of database research on incremental view maintenance by creating optimization techniques appropriately extended for the need of pages (nesting, variability, ordering), thereby achieving performance comparable to hand-coded applications. app2you builds on FORWARD by empowering non- programmer business process owners to create and customize application pages, without programming or database design in a conventional sense. app2you provides a WYSIWYG design facility where the owner specifies the application by manipulating visual aspects of it, responding to questions posed by wizards and setting configuration options. In response, the design facility infers the necessary FORWARD application, including database schema, data structures and code, and immediately produces a revision of the application for the owner's evaluation. The software development cycle is shortened to literally seconds

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