Amazing Web Applications with PL/SQL and Formspider

In the good old days, dynamic web applications were created using cgi-bin and C. Yes, C as in pre-C++. Today, this might seem odd or even crazy. But why not. And why not create a website using PL/SQL? Check out Formspider, a web framework that connects AJAX requests directly with PL/SQL stored procedure calls. For instance, to generate charts:

http://theformspider.com/API/api_chart.html

Intrigued? Me too! ;-)

13 thoughts on “Amazing Web Applications with PL/SQL and Formspider

      1. Hi Lukas,

        Thank you for writing about Formspider.

        Formspider actually uses middleware by the way.

        The architecture of the apps with Formspider are also logically separated into three tiers (MVC).

        I understand Samuel’s reaction. PL/SQL is largely a misunderstood programming language by outsiders. It’s viewed as a legacy language which is not true at all. PL/SQL is probably one of the most lively languages that is actively being developed. It actually powers the software in many many enterprises which are Oracle customers or partners.

        What it lacked before Formspider is a high quality app development tool that meets the needs of today’s app developers who know PL/SQL.

        Did you get a chance to see an app built with Formspider? Here is a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gOeF6amOBM&feature=player_embedded#t=0

        Not bad for a legacy programming language huh? :-)

        Many thanks again for writing about Formspider. Much appreciated.

        Kind Regards,
        Yalim

        1. Hi Yalim, thanks for connecting! Just to get this straight, I’m genuinely intrigued. I can see a couple of very nice use-cases for Formspider and I had actually had a strange love for PL/SQL when I used to work with it. Developing jOOQ, I have come to love embedding SQL as a language in another language (Java, Scala or Groovy, so far).

          How would you compare Formspider to Oracle APEX?

          1. Hi Lukas,

            I’ve written extensively about Formspider vs APEX. Here are a few links:

            A comparison chart: http://www.theformspider.com/compare-formspider-with-apex.php

            A few features FS has that Apex don’t: http://theformspider.com/blog/2012/11/28/for-those-of-you-who-dont-want-to-wait-for-apex/

            About our different approaches: http://theformspider.com/blog/2012/06/23/formspiderapex/

            Formspider is an implementation of a set of principles we believe are essential to build applications for today. These principles can be applied to any technology. We just happened to implement them in PL/SQL.

            BTW, I glanced at jOOQ. I loved the idea. If I ever develop a framework for Java, I’ll definitely use it. :-)

            Kind Regards,
            Yalim

            1. Hmm, interesting comparison pages. Note, I think you might be even more successful, if you used a slightly less pejorative, more objective tone against APEX. I understand that you’re competitors, of course… Unless APEX is really broadly considered that bad.

              Does the number of downloads on this page here include trial downloads? Or are they all subscribers? http://theformspider.com/blog/2012/11/28/for-those-of-you-who-dont-want-to-wait-for-apex

              BTW, I glanced at jOOQ. I loved the idea. If I ever develop a framework for Java, I’ll definitely use it.

              Thanks ;-)

  1. Your point is well taken. I guess the reason I am so liberal with my comments is that Apex is owned by Oracle. They are big boys. They can take it. They should have done better. I would act differently if Apex was a startup or a small company.

    The numbers are for trial downloads and trial Cloud sign ups. We don’t have that many paying customers yet.

  2. I have some further questions on FormsSpider:

    (1.) I read somewhere that FormSpider was build using FormSpider.

    That is, the IDE I think.

    How is this possible? Can you elaborate a little bit?

    (2.) Are you saying that you did not use anything else like Javasript, CSS??

    (3.) Also, how does the FS apps deployed?? Do you need a web-server??

    (4.) I saw a demo on how to build an application using FS. So, for example, when you create a screen with panels and a tree menu, in the IDE, when you deploy the application, how is that tree generated?? Is it using JavaScript?

    1. Hi TC,

      Great questions! Please see below for the answers:

      (1.) I read somewhere that FormSpider was build using FormSpider. How is this possible?

      We used the Formspider framework to build the Formspider IDE. In other words, Formspider IDE’s source code is consists of:
      a) Some PL/SQL code that references Formspider PL/SQL API’s and
      b) Formspider XML to describe the UI and some other Formspider objects.

      2.) Are you saying that you did not use anything else like Javasript, CSS??
      No. This is not what I am saying. Formspider has its own JS library. What I am saying is that Formspider IDE uses the same JS library that every other application built with Formspider is using along with the same Formspider PL/SQL API’s and Formspider XML. So in theory, if you felt like it, you could build the Formspider IDE using Formspider.

      3.) Also, how does the FS apps deployed?? Do you need a web-server??
      Yes. Formspider is deployed to JEE compliant application server such s Glassfish or Tomcat.

      (4.) I When you deploy the application, how is that tree generated?? Is it using JavaScript?
      Yes. If a Formspider screen is rendered in a web browser, we use JavaScriot to render it. The key here is that Formspider application itself has zero lines of JavaScript in its source code. This enables us to render an application using pretty much any client side technology. In other words, Formspider applications do not depend on client side programming languages. (For example, we used to have a Java library that rendered a Formspider application as a Java Desktop App.)

      Hey feel free to email me by the way. I am easy to reach. Our email is on the Formsider website. :-)

      Kind Regards,
      Yalim

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