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InterSystems Goes RAD With Cache 2007

The object-relational database system has added rapid application development features and a Zen framework to make it easier to build user interfaces for Web applications.

Charles Babcock

November 8, 2006

2 Min Read

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.

The Zen framework (not to be confused with Xen open-source virtual software from XenSource) also is designed to provide security for Web applications, validating the user inputs as the type of information expected as opposed to Javascript that will execute when the page is returned to the server.

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.

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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