Iron Speed Designer Introduction
Hard-core developers who are into systems programming really seem content to use Notepad/VIM/Emacs as their editor of choice. While these are great text editors, when it comes to UI designing, Microsoft itself has spoiled developers by providing a great Rapid Application Development tool in the form of Microsoft Visual Studio.
Enterprise developers eagerly await the release of the next version of Microsoft Visual Studio where they can do more with less effort. While Microsoft Visual Studio itself provides a lot of GUI aid for product development, a significant effort still has to be made to develop the application itself.
It is this area that RAD tools target to increase developer productivity. Having used Notepad and Microsoft Visual Studio throughout my programming career, I was taken aback by the comfort and ease provided by the Iron Speed Designer for creating a zippy application in minutes.
Disclaimer: This article highlights my experiencewith this RAD tool
Iron Speed Designer is a RAD tool for .NET framework application development targeting web applications - Internet, intranet and SharePoint.
Iron Speed Designer First Experience
The first time you launch Iron Speed Designer, you will be prompted for a registration key. Once you enter your registration key, the Application Wizard launches.
Editor's note: You can get a registration code and download Iron Speed now. The form for doing this is at the bottom of this article.
After clicking Next, you are prompted to select the page style depending on the edition you choose. Within your trial period, you are allowed to choose all available styles. Once your trial/evaluation period has expired, you can only choose amongst the Free edition templates.
For the purpose of the review, I chose the "Kilimanjaro" style from the Enterprise edition listing.
To check out all the features, I chose to use the Sample database "Southwind" application.
At this point, you are prompted to select which pages to create and which tables will be used for data population.
To keep things simple, I changed the default table selection to choose the following data tables - Customers, Orders and Order Details. I also changed the default pages selected to add some things I want to check - email-able page, printable page, etc. Once at the "Keys" page, you get prompted if Iron Speed Designer was able to guess the primary-foreign key relationships between the tables. It is at this point that you will thank/curse your database developer for ensuring that the database was/wasn't properly normalized.
If Iron Speed Designer detects that it could not determine primary-foreign key relationships, it will report its suggestions as to which table field combinations will make sure they function as primary-foreign keys. I found this to be a very nice feature from an application developer stand-point since you can work without being at the whims of the database guru in your department. I left the settings on the next page because I wasn't interested in adding support for more languages, but this seemed very interesting as well.
I wanted to target this new application to run against .NET framework 4.0
Iron Speed promptly reported that it is about to create 84 pages. WOW! That's a lot of work I did in a couple of minutes.
After about a minute or so, I am presented with the dialog that code generation is complete.
And a web page pops up, and your application is already operational.
What remains now is the customization of your .NET framework application to give it your look and feel, like changing the logo and branding your application.
If you want to try Iron Speed now, then use the following form to request a product key and download.