InterSystems, a supplier of an object-relational database system called Cache, has released Cache 2007 with rapid application development features added to it, including an Ajax feature for Web applications.
Nine-year-old Cache has vertical market acceptance in health care because of its ability to deal with complex medical records, including patient medical images and hand-scribbled doctor's notes.
In Cache 2007, the database system has added the Zen framework, a component-based way of building user interfaces on Web applications. User pages are defined in XML, populated with components like buttons and menus, and run through the Zen compiler, which converts them into a set of software objects stored in the Cache database.
That makes it quicker to retrieve complex XML pages and send them to a user's browser window. The user in turn may modify the document, enter data, or check off preferences, and a new XML document is then sent back to the server via Ajax.
Paul Grabscheid, VP of strategic planning for InterSystems, says Zen's implementation of Ajax works across different browsers, with differences in how they display Ajax resolved by the underlying system. The Zen library of prebuilt components includes grids, tables, and selection trees for quick creation of complex processes, he says.
Grabscheid says the close integration of software objects in the database and the Zen framework made it easier to produce high performance Web pages with user interaction features.
Cache 2007 also includes Jalapeno, a new feature that speeds Java development by eliminating the need for tedious object relational mapping, where a software object that may be a major component on a Web page is dismantled for storing in a relational database, then reassembled and delivered as required. Cache stores the software object whole, without dismantling, but can still retrieve quickly on cue. To some extent, new Java software such as Hibernate and Enterprise JavaBeans also solve the problem, but they're more difficult to learn than Jalapeno, claims Grabscheid.
While much smaller than relational database competitors, Cache is a strong niche player with 100,000 licensed systems in use in health care, financial services, and telecommunications, Grabscheid says. It's priced at $220 to $1,380 per user, depending on whether it's running on Windows, Linux, Macintosh, Unix, or HP's OpenVMS.