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Enhancing the Look and Feel of MultiValue Applications – Q & A with BlueFinity’s Bob Markowitz


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BlueFinity's mv.NET is a tool kit that allows developers to use industry-standard technology to enhance existing MultiValue applications by integrating with Microsoft .NET technologies, explains Bob Markowitz, sales executive at BlueFinity International. While giving MultiValue developers the use of industry-standard technology to present existing MultiValue applications as modern solutions, it also separates the MultiValue knowledge requirement from the Microsoft technology requirement. "In order for the MultiValue platform to thrive, we must allow the major software developer communities around the world to be able to access and utilize the platform in ways which they find familiar and comfortable," Markowitz says.

5 Minute Briefing: Tell us about mv.NET.
Markowitz: mv.NET is a tool kit that allows the preservation of MultiValue applications while modernizing the look and feel by integrating it with Microsoft .NET technologies - whether for rich applications, web applications or web services. It does it inexpensively and quickly by giving MultiValue developers the use of industry-standard technology to present existing MultiValue applications as modern, industry-leading solutions.  It separates the MultiValue knowledge requirement from the Microsoft technology requirement. Many MultiValue developers have both capabilities.  It makes the MultiValue developer very important to a project while allowing the largest programming talent pool in the world to program against MultiValue back-end databases - i.e., .NET Programmers with zero knowledge of that database and business logic.  The knowledge gained by the MultiValue developer using mv.NET can also applied to Microsoft open system technologies.

To simplify things, mv.NET is a suite of tools ranging from database connectivity through to application creation using Microsoft technologies including those technologies that makes development times fast and creates standardized readable code to deliver modern looking applications within the MultiValue marketplace.

5 Minute Briefing: Does BlueFinity's mv.NET work with all the MultiValue databases?
Markowitz: mv.NET has been implemented to work with all of the major MultiValue databases. The few exemptions can be implemented quickly once a business case is made.

5 Minute Briefing: Who is using mv.NET?
Markowitz: Businesses and organizations in almost every facet of daily life including banking, retail, healthcare, insurance, education, government, publishing, distribution, travel, manufacturing, religious organizations, automotive dealerships - the list goes on.  Given the low cost of development and the scalability of mv.NET, these applications are deployed across the full range any of today's interface technologies - workstations, browsers, handhelds, phones, tablets and other mobile devices.

5 Minute Briefing: Are there specific verticals that are finding mv.NET most useful for updating their applications?
Markowitz: The use of mv.NET is as wide and varied as the number of verticals.  We have a customer in the retail business running an application processing 500 transactions a second from their online catalog, a major international bank using mv.NET for real time reporting, air and seaports throughout the Caribbean capturing data on all aircraft and passenger movements for reporting to the government council and many, many more.

5 Minute Briefing: What is the learning curve like for users to take advantage of mv.NET?
Markowitz: There are two primary pieces within mv.NET.  One is MultiValue-centric; the other is .NET-centric.  We assume that everyone has MultiValue knowledge and so the main learning process centers around Microsoft Visual Studio's Integrated Development Environment (IDE).  Most developers are up and running within two weeks.  However, there is much to learn and a full understanding of mv.NET can take a month or more but is well worth the investment in time. 

5 Minute Briefing: What benefits does it bring to MultiValue database applications?
Markowitz: mv.NET allows developers to use industry-standard technology to enhance existing MultiValue applications into modern, industry-leading solutions.  It standardizes the development process and encourages modular, object-oriented software development.  It improves productivity by allowing full use of the application development features of Visual Studio making the time to market and to the user significantly shorter and therefore less costly.  The higher level features of mv.NET allow business applications of all types (web, rich, services) to be built quickly and easily.  These higher level features also allow the MultiValue database to be exposed to and accessed by the largest programming resource pool in the world - .NET programmers - lowering the cost for projects while increasing the value of the MultiValue developer.

5 Minute Briefing: Why has BlueFinity placed emphasis on Microsoft's Silverlight technology?
Markowitz: Of the many things that Silverlight offers perhaps the most important to the MultiValue community is its ability to allow rich-client line-of-business (LOB) applications to be hosted within a web browser.  This coupled with the application development tools within Visual Studio offers the modern software developer the ability to create stunning browser-hosted LOB applications easily and quickly.

BlueFinity has recognized the fantastic potential of Silverlight and has invested in the creation of specialized application development tools for Visual Studio to allow MultiValue developers to take full advantage of the technology.

MultiValue developers have an opportunity to create application interfaces that will captivate, retain and extend their client base.  What's more, this can be done with tools used by millions of developers around the world, which makes the task of undertaking application development more achievable, less risky and more long lasting.

5 Minute Briefing: How does BlueFinity enable organizations to take advantage of Silverlight?
Markowitz: The Silverlight support offered by BlueFinity is based upon mv.NET's entity modeling functionality.  This allows the MultiValue developer to describe how their database content is to be presented as a series of classes within the .NET environment.  A source code generator is also provided to allow the automatic creation of .NET source code (C# or VB) to manifest the entity model description.

Support for Silverlight is automatically built into this generated source code. In addition, BlueFinity has also created an application framework for Silverlight development along with a design tool (the "XAML Wizard") to allow rapid creation of application content (forms, menus, etc.)  This application framework can be used in conjunction with any Visual Studio standard or 3rd party provided components.

One of the great things about mv.NET's Silverlight support is that it actively promotes a phased approach to Silverlight adoption.   Clearly, your Silverlight application is going to be accessing the same database instance as your existing application, but mv.NET also uses standard MultiValue item locking and standard MultiValue dictionaries.  This means that Silverlight and non-Silverlight application interfaces can happily co-exist together.  Also, you are able to utilize your existing MultiValue BASIC routines within your Silverlight application.   This allows you to enhance and deploy your application at your own pace and avoid being caught in an all or nothing dilemma. 

5 Minute Briefing: What's next for BlueFinity?
Markowitz: The development efforts at BlueFinity for the foreseeable future will be guided by a very simple principle: In order for the MultiValue platform to thrive, we must allow the major software developer communities around the world to be able to access and utilize the platform in ways which they find familiar and comfortable. The development effort will be focused on extending the ability for non-MultiValue (.NET) developers to utilize the data and code residing on MultiValue platforms.  This will be performed by extending the range of Microsoft application platforms targeted by Solution Objects, mv.NET's industry-leading entity modeling component.  You can see examples of these application platforms - Desktop WPF and LightSwitch - here.

BlueFinity will offer a free webinar showcasing mv.NET on March 31.  Two times are available.  Register here


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