Blockly – time for serious business.

ZOAPI has, one of its key salient features, a self contained Web environment where you can build, test and deploy Web-Services of all kinds. The environment is designed to target non-professional programmers. Most entry and middle level professionals in the services industry already have exposure to elements of programming. Excel is a commonly used business tool, and more and more people are using advanced features, which gives them this basic starting knowledge. Even the basic use of Excel would involve “If-then-else” conditions, access to web services and elements of XML and JSON formats.

Why did we select blockly as the primary front-end for ZOAPI Web-IDE? Because it ties in perfectly with this key target audience. Blockly, a Google product, was intended for children to learn programming. It allows you to assemble your programs by dragging and dropping blocks in the form of the algorithm. If it is good enough for school children, it is good enough for our semi-technical adults. Go ahead – give blockly a try on this demo site.

If you can visualize your business logic as an algorithm, blockly will get you writing it out is no time – even if you have not programmed before. It is time for Blockly to grow up and join the serious programming business – ZOAPI Web-IDE is here.

What about experienced programmers? I agree that experienced programmers are set in their ways and heavily dependent on their keyboards and the IDE prompted auto completion as they type. Some inconvenience will be felt by them, but overall the gains will outweigh the trouble. Besides, ZOAPI Web-IDE also supports native Java for which a conventional editor front-end is available. However, the use of Java is advised only for kind of processing that the Web-IDE macro commands cannot handle. Most business algorithms in ZOAPI can be built without having to resort to the use of Java.

A real life business algorithm, needs to interact with the service end-points, user sessions, database access, other Web-services, multiple message formats and loads of technical complexities. I will write in another blog post, on why all this complexity is totally unnecessary and it exists only because the technology leaders saw no need to contain it amidst their commercial interests.

ZOAPI takes all this complexity and hides it behind a generic XML type hierarchical abstraction of the program environment. You interact with the environment through the abstraction using the commands provided by the macro language of the Web-IDE. Go ahead and give ZOAPI Web-IDE a try and see how easy it is to write complete functional business programs.

Author: Manoj Agarwal, Chief Architect – ZOAPI.

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