This is a single archived entry from Stefan Tilkov’s blog. For more up-to-date content, check out my author page at INNOQ, which has more information about me and also contains a list of published talks, podcasts, and articles. Or you can check out the full archive.

Automation is Great if it's Done By You

Stefan Tilkov,

What do you think when you read something like this:

Iron Speed Designer is a software development tool for building database, reporting, and forms applications for .NET without hand-coding. Quickly create visually stunning, feature-complete Web applications with database access and security. Iron Speed Designer accelerates development by eliminating routine infrastructure programming, giving you ready-to-deploy n-tier Web applications in minutes.

In all fairness, here’s the link; I don’t know a thing about this tool and it may well be truly excellent and just what you’re looking for. But I always become deeply suspicious if I read a pitch like this. After all, we’ve all seen too many tools that claim to do everything you’ve ever asked for without the need for you to interfere. But I much prefer a tool that automates development and offers me a way to customize it in any way I choose. That is exactly what we aim for with our own approach — automate as much as possible, but leave the decisions about what to automate, and how to automate it, to the users, not the vendor.

On January 29, 2005 10:28 AM, xeo_at_thermopylae said:

Ironspeed has been around for years. It’s a program generator. It essentially uses templates or prototypes of the various types of screens (list, detail, update, enter, master-detail, etc.) to be generated. Code is generated in a base language (e.g., a subset of ASP or Perl). Once generated, you can customize the code, provided the generated code is fairly clean and has some documentation.

It isn’t particularly difficult to write such a generator or template-based system, especially for web apps, which have only a limited set of “controls”.

There are many program generators/template systems available. Perl has several(e.g., Mason).

Ironspeed does have good “marketspeak”!

On January 17, 2006 3:47 PM, John Horsfall said:

IronSpeed Designer is now at version 3.2 and generates code in c# or vb .net 1.1 or 2.0 with Access, SQL 2K or 2K5 or Oracle backends. The application also has several customisation templates for the most common application feature requirements. Once generated the code project can easily be opened in Visual Studio for detailled edits. It does the meat of the development leaving you with neat classes and code to build upon. In my experience it has reduced development time for many applications by at least a week or two.