WebObjects: WO is Me

Jonathan 'Wolf' Rentzsch
Red Shed Software

Tuesday May 28th 2002 at 7:00pm
College of DuPage, OCC 128(c,d)


WebObjects, created by NeXT in 1993, was the original web application server. While it is the oldest application server, instead of becoming obsolete, WebObjects has become more powerful with age. Originally written in NeXT's favorite language, Objective C, WebObjects 5 is now written in Pure Java.

WebObjects allows you to quickly develop web applications by providing a set of frameworks. At the bottom is Enterprise Objects Framework, or EOF. EOF is an object-relational database mapping framework which creates Java objects from rows in database tables and vice-versa.

Incredibly well-designed, EOF abstracts the data source from you. Your application doesn't care if the data source is Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Sybase, OpenBase, FrontBase or SQL Server -- or a combination of any of these. EOF writes the necessary SQL for you lets you focus on your application.

At the application layer, WebObjects frees you from many niggling details. For example, object variables are easily "bound" to web form input fields. You get automatic session-management, a host of pre-built components plus a GUI query builder and page builder. Your Java code is kept separate from the presentation, which is separate from the database code. Copying and pasting code, along with the maintenance headache that goes along with it, is greatly reduced.

The capstone is a technology called DirectToWeb, which is a rules-based runtime application generator. Give it a database, and it will give you a fully functional web application instantly. Don't confuse this with a wizard, however. DirectToWeb isn't a code-generator, it actually dynamically inspects the data model at runtime and builds customizable pages on demand.

Together we'll paddle across this ocean of information, stopping to compare WebObjects to the likes of Perl, ASP, JSP, PHP, ColdFusion, Lasso, WebLogic and WebSphere. Finally, to make all of this less abstract, we'll build a simple WebLog program together.

Speaker Bio

Jonathan 'Wolf' Rentzsch (jon at redshed dot net) is the embodiment of Red Shed Software and runs a Macintosh Programming Special Interest Group in Schaumburg. In between reading and coding, he'll venture outside for a bike ride or will pontificate on various list servers about obscure= topics. He encourages his competitors to purchase and mandate the use of products with the most market share.

Getting to the meeting

The next general meeting of UniForum Chicago will be from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Tuesday, May 28th, 2002, at the College of DuPage, building OCC - room 128(c,d).

        College of DuPage
        Building OCC, Rm 128(c,d)
        22nd and Lambert
        Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-6599
Take 355 to Butterfield Rd (Rt 56). Butterfield West to Lambert Rd. Lambert Rd North to 22nd St. West on 22nd St to Lot 9 or 10 entrance. South into lot 9 or 10. Park in lot 9 or 10 and walk to the OCC (Open Campus Center) building. The meeting room is 128(c,d) which is along the west side of the building.

All UniForum Chicago general meetings are open to the public free of charge.

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