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Iron Speed Designer 8.0 Released

Code generation tools provider Iron Speed last week released version 8 of its Iron Speed Designer product, which promises to streamline development of database and reporting applications by generating code based on input from a visual design surface.

The new version of Designer advances support for creating powerful reports and dashboards, by tapping the underlying database schema to provide intuitive control from a visual toolbox. "Foreign key relationships offer hints as to what the database is about. Then the toolbox is populated based off of that," said Alan Fisher, founder of Iron Speed.

Also new to version 8 is the ability to add charts to a page. Users can drag and drop data that has been sliced and diced to suit the presentation. Iron Speed Designer uses the default .NET Charting Control in .NET 4, and allows users to access 100 different charting properties from the Iron Speed Designer Property sheet. Third-party chart controls can be supported by customizing the XSLT templates that Iron Speed Designer employs to drive application creation.

Iron Speed also continues to push the appeal of the product to non-programmers, adding support for formulas in the data access layer to make rich functionality available without code. Formula support was introduced in Designer 7, but only in the presentation layer. The new version extends this support to the data access layer, providing global coverage in the application, rather than just field by field or page by page.

"That's a very powerful feature and we're extending that. We've gotten tremendously positive feedback about our use of formulas since we added it in," said Fisher, who added his company is always trying to "push back the frontier of what [customers] might need to do in code."

Relative Position
Fisher said Designer 8.0 represents a significant step forward. Version 7.1, released last year, focused on adding support for Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4, as well as for Microsoft SharePoint 2010.

"One of the things that Designer will do is build a database application that runs inside of Microsoft SharePoint. And that's a capability that Microsoft SharePoint doesn't have. SharePoint doesn't have a relational database facility to it," Fisher explained.

Iron Speed Designer 8 is available in Enterprise and Professional Editions and is generally sold as part of an annual update subscription. The software runs on Microsoft Windows XP and later client operating systems, and the Windows Server 2003 and 2008 server OSes. It can create .NET Web applications for Microsoft's SQL Server and Access databases, as well for Oracle and MySQL. Pricing can be found at the Iron Speed Web site.

About the Author

Michael Desmond is an editor and writer for 1105 Media's Enterprise Computing Group.

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