June 9, 2006

I've started writing this post about 3 times now and got sidetracked each time so here goes …

Last year I did a paper on object oriented software development and the programming platform we used was JADE, a New Zealand made fully object oriented development platform that includes its own object oriented database 😀 We didn't do much other than simple storage and manipulation of data (customer details/ records) but I found it quite a good language to use and the object oriented database was very convenient, no need to worry about setting up database connections to an external database or handling the transfer of data from an object to a relational database.

JADE is extremely good in adopting good programming practise such as the use of classes and public methods for setting and getting values and splits the presentation from the code completely. JADE includes a form painter, an application separate from the programming IDE that provides the controls for making a form (buttons, text-boxes etc.), when the form is saved the elements are visible in the IDE for you to include event methods to. This takes a bit of getting used to when you are accustomed to just double clicking a button and entering code. What this means though is that the GUI is completely separated from the code so a browser interface for example can be easily integrated with the application code.

Because of this, and the fact JADE is a fully object oriented environment proper application design using UML diagrams such as Class Diagrams is greatly rewared, especially considering persistant data is stored in an object database. 

I would like to do further development with JADE but it has its limitations (in my opinion) such as it is not widely recognised, and the IDE.

In the workforce I am much more likely to come across a Java or C# application than JADE and clients are more likely to request the more popular languages.

The GUI designer controls are a little outdated and look like the controls from Windows 3. I understand the reason for this is proberly that JADE controls do not use the Windows API but neither do Java controls and Swing looks pretty good! Having said that though, JADE is very extensible and it is not hard to create your own controls but it would be nice to include the controls you have created in the design toolbar and not from a drop down menu.

Not really such a big deal but an improved form painter/IDE would greatly increase its value and would make it attractive to programmers. The IDE is also of similar design, I would prefer an IDE design using floating windows in the style Delphi and C++ builder use. 

JADE also has a certain way of doing things which can make the learning curve quite difficult.

JADE is a very powerful and useful programming environment with huge potential so if you are developing GUI applications with an object orientated environment I highly recommend you have a look. The

Platforms supported are Windows and Linux.  


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