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The Making Of

Below is a brief overview of how the Northwind Demo Application was built, and how we spent the 15 minutes that it took.

Process

We built the Northwind Demo application with the Blue Ink application. We followed a process based upon the Just-In-Time Application Generation (JAG) Methodology.

Database

Northwind is a database, complete with data, that is installed by default with the Microsoft SQL Server database management system.

Initial Generation

Within five minutes we had a working prototype. We generated the application with Blue Ink by creating a new project based on the Northwind database, reviewing some high level meta-data such as where to output code, and clicking the generate button. We then installed the application by loading the generated stored procedures into SQL Server, compiling the strongly typed datasets using a generated script, and compiling the solution in Microsoft Visual Studio (although we could have used the generated .bat file). Even a prototype application of this size would have taken weeks without Blue Ink.

Iterative Updating

Within twelve minutes we had a fairly refined, usable application. We reviewed the prototype and customized it in Blue Ink by updating meta-data. These changes, among other things, resulted in changing which fields were editable or creatable (e.g. Blue Ink does not inherintly support blobs, so we made the Picture field in categories non-editable, non-insertable), which fields were searchable (e.g. one would mostly likely not find a supplier by searching on their home phone), and which fields were displayed on search results how they are displayed as foreign relationships on view/edit/add pages (e.g. showing the quantity and unit price fields for order details in search results, on the view order page, and on the view product page). We re-installed the stored procedures, re-generated the typed datasets, and re-generated the solution and reviewed our results. Updating meta-data and regenerating took around 7 minutes.

User Interface

Within 15 minutes we had the application you see on our site. The final customizations we made to the default generated application were updating the UiHeader.ascx to update the overall look and feel and updating the Login.aspx, and Default.aspx to provide some description and context. The final customizations took just a few minutes.

Completing the Application

The Northwind application is probably not ready to go live quite yet. For one thing security has not been fully implemented. For another the process of adding a new order should probably be streamlined. Completing implementation of security is a simple process as Blue Ink has generated the majority of the code for authentication and authorization already. Modifying the process of adding an order should be straightforward given the large amount of code already created by Blue Ink.

Data Model Changes

Blue Ink inherently supports data model changes. If the Northwind application needed to track a new piece of information (e.g. product weight for use in determining shipping costs), Blue Ink could easily update the application. Prior to Blue Ink, data model changes were time consuming to implement. Now, by updating the database, and regenerating with Blue Ink, the database can be kept in sync with the application with virtually no effort.





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