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JDJ MEETS... Vivek Mannige
JDJ MEETS... Vivek Mannige
By: Jeremy Geelan
Jan. 1, 2000 12:00 AM
Founded just this year, AccelTree Software has attracted industry attention with its rapid code assembler, FULCRUM. Vivek Mannige, chairman of AccelTree Software, talks with JDJ editorial director Jeremy Geelan about how FULCRUM has defined a new place for itself in Java application development.
JDJ: FULCRUM is advertised as being "The Java tool with a difference." Can you briefly just explain that difference? What tools currently compete with FULCRUM? What exactly does it do differently from them?
While a comprehensive development tool as described above invites comparison with IDEs, it must be noted that FULCRUM is most emphatically not an IDE. The difference with FULCRUM is that it focuses on code assembly and associated document generation. The real power of FULCRUM emerges from the way FULCRUM leverages "templates" across every aspect of the coding cycle.
FULCRUM's design does not aim at interface development, debugging, compilation, etc., within the rubric of the tool. FULCRUM is positioned not as a competitor to IDEs but as a complement to the IDE or development process of your choice. By fulfilling a deeply felt need in the software development process, FULCRUM is defining a new space for itself rather than competing for space against available tools.
JDJ: The code templates FULCRUM uses are proprietary, presumably?
Vivek: The core concept of FULCRUM is the building of software through the abstraction of reusable components in the form of 'templates' for Java classes. AccelTree has applied for a US patent for the concept/process.
JDJ: From a developer's point of view, how exactly does FULCRUM's increase in productivity typically manifest itself?
Vivek: Instead of constructing all the Java code from scratch, the developer can use FULCRUM's templates as building blocks to assemble the code. Maintenance of business rules separate from code and document generation also reduces the "overhead" time. The FULCRUM process allows the developer to set the program specifications, naming conventions as well as configure a code checker. FULCRUM's quick generation of Test JSP and automatic XML generation for presentation also contribute immensely to development timesavings. The "template" concept has been integrated through the development process from class definition to unit testing and presentation, giving architectural clarity to the coding process.
A typical Java development team will find that once a few hours have been invested in learning to use FULCRUM, the savings in development time ranges from 30% - 50%, with larger or complex applications having higher savings. An application involving 48 forms took 115 person-days for coding and unit testing as against an estimated 192 person-days for the same activity using conventional coding. The integration and link testing activity for the same application took only 15 calendar days as compared to a normal 30.
JDJ: How does FULCRUM compute program logic, and how does that differ from other tools on the market?
Vivek: FULCRUM templates are structured to handle repetitive steps in code assembly by automatically providing you with code blocks for commonly required code. This accelerates code assembly.
While some contemporary tools may use a template concept, the template usually acts as a macro, which restricts developer creativity. FULCRUM differs from other tools in that it keeps the templates flexible and provides the developer enough leeway to modify the code as needed. The provision of templates within a Business Rule Editor is another unique feature of FULCRUM.
JDJ: When you and your wife co-founded Indus Software back in 1990, you concentrated on C. When did you switch your attention to Java? Was it when you founded AccelTree this year, or had you already switched your language focus before that?
Vivek: At Indus Software itself we moved to Java several years back. We were one of the few companies to release a Java based product at the Gartner Group Exposition in 1998. Those were the days when the use of the Internet for mission critical business applications was still in its infancy.
JDJ: Does the funding for AccelTree derive from Indus, or is it independently funded? Is there any venture finance, as there was in the last few years of Indus?
Vivek: AccelTree is privately funded at this time. We are in the process of raising venture capital finance, which should be in place in three months.
JDJ: What do you deem to be the principal advantages of the Java platform over a platform such as, for example Microsoft's .NET - or are AccelTree products eventually going to be platform neutral?
Vivek: The principal advantage of Java is the availability of the product on multiple platforms. AccelTree will continue to focus on producing software tools that enhance a customer's productivity.
JDJ: What expansion plans has AccelTree got for the US market? How is the product currently distributed over here? How can the Java developers who read JDJ and visit our Web site every day most easily connect with FULCRUM. Can they download anything free of charge or for trial purposes?
Vivek: FULCRUM is currently being distributed through JDJ, Programmer's Paradise and Lifeboat. Those interested in purchasing FULCRUM, check out the following links?
Those interested in evaluating FULCRUM? Professional Edition 1.1 can now download a free 30-day evaluation copy from the AccelTree site by using the following link:
Also available for download is a CBT that gives an excellent hands-on introduction to FULCRUM.
JDJ: What other software tools do you think the market needs? Will AccelTree be developing other products in the near future?
Vivek: In the near future, AccelTree will focus on supporting FULCRUM and coming out with new products in this space while studying market needs in the areas of Java and XML. As mentioned earlier, AccelTree will continue to focus on producing software tools that enhance a customer's productivity.
JDJ: How have you found it so far, working with the Java Developer's Journal team, reputedly the industry's most customer-focused publication?
Vivek: It sure has been a pleasure and their customer focus is undeniable.
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