Archive for January, 2010

How has Morfik morphed? A brief history

Morfik was officially launched at the Web 2.0 Conference, San Francisco, in October 2005. It was however several years prior to that event that the technology was conceptualised and the journey began. I have been fortunate to have shared the Morfik journey from the beginning and have had the unique opportunity to see its evolution from a mere thought to a software product that now is over 1,000,000 lines of code! What follows is how Morfik has evolved.

In the beginning . . .

In the late 90’s, Aram and I worked at Altium (previously known as Protel), an international software company that provides PC-based electronics design software for engineers. Following the successful initial public offering of Altium, we began looking for our next challenge.

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The return of the small software house

Small and medium size businesses are the engines of the economy. They provide the bulk of employment opportunities in free economies and in some cases lead large enterprises in innovation. The need for ever-increasing efficiency in a highly competitive environment compelled small business to embrace desktop computing in the 80s and 90s. This scramble for automation created a new sector in the IT industry and lead to the emergence of independent IT contractors and small software houses. Millions of individuals and small groups learned programming and leveraged their intimate knowledge of their respective industries in developing a bewildering array of business applications for small businesses. The emergence of professional IDEs and visual programming in the early 90s played a major role in the expansion of this sector of IT.

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Morfik Deployment Tips and Tricks – Introduction

As we all know maintaining a website and its related server infrastructure is a daunting task! Most of us think of it as some kind of pain that is unavoidable - a pain that has to be endured for things to work properly. While this is largely true, I feel there are a number of things that we can do to reduce or even eliminate this pain.

In my blogs I will try to help you manage this pain by simply talking about our experiences in this field. I will share with you what we have learnt running and supporting Morfik and its related partners’ websites and their server infrastructure.

Morfik uses its own software exclusively for its website and associated services. As well as this being one of the best things we could have ever done for the product, it ensures that there is never a dull moment in the IT department here at Morfik!

Here are the areas that I will be covering in my future blogs:

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The browser is a beautiful thing

The idea of the browser as a universal user interface is neither new nor revolutionary. Many commentators have discussed the idea since the beginning of the century. After all, it is the natural next step in the evolution of the Internet and has precedence on the desktop which we have all witnessed.

Much the same way Microsoft Windows started life as a veneer on top of Microsoft DOS, only to grow into a full featured native OS, the browser started life and grew on top of a variety of host operating systems and will eventually emerge as a native OS on a number of hardware platforms.

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The seven ordeals of the web application developer – Part 3

Developers who seek their fortune in the web business applications market must face and survive seven ordeals and success will only favour those who come prepared.

1. The First Ordeal: User experience

2. The Second Ordeal: Compatibility

3. The Third Ordeal: Time to market

Early desktop computing had a slow start.  The limitations of the operating systems and the high cost of hardware, coupled with the lack of useful business applications were the main reasons for the slow uptake. The emergence of office automation, particularly Word Processors, Spreadsheets and accounting software, made computing essential to the success of any business.  This helped increase the sales of hardware.  Once the use of computers spread and their power grew the world witnessed an explosion in software development in every conceivable field.  This slow start afforded the early entrants enough time to consolidate their presence in the market and achieve critical mass with little or no competition.

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The seven ordeals of the web application developer – Part 2

Developers who seek their fortune in the web business applications market must face and survive seven ordeals and success will only favour those who come prepared.

1. The First Ordeal: User experience

2. The Second Ordeal: Compatibility

Cloud Computing is nebulous!  In the “cloud”, data is distributed across a vast network and stored on assorted platforms.  Processes are also distributed and are mostly asynchronous in nature.  Increasingly, web services are becoming indispensable in web applications.  What holds this intricate yet fragile web together and prevents it from unravelling is a set of community-developed standards such as TCP/IP, HTML, XML, CSS and JavaScript.  This fragile hold is constantly threatened by the incompatibilities of the browsers.  The legitimacy of the browser as the platform is also under constant attack by business interests trying to reduce it to a mere container for their proprietary offerings.

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Introducing Morfik technical blogs

After a long development cycle and a series of maintenance releases, Morfik 2 has reached a level of stability and strength that has allowed us to look beyond the horizon ahead and consider new possibilities.

In line with our goal to have a greater level of engagement with the wider developer community in 2010 we have decided to use Morfik's blog site (rather than our existing technical support forums) for communicating our ideas and plans for the product and its future development. Using this site, Morfik’s key developers will blog about the upcoming features and significant architectural changes that are necessary to support their implementation. From time to time we might preview new features through screenshots or live demos and invite you to comment and provide feedback to ensure we're heading in the right direction. This should also make our blogs more interesting to read!

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The seven ordeals of the web application developer

There is no point living in denial.  Web business applications are here.  You cannot live with them.  You cannot live without them.  But they are here.  So let us make the best out of this “less than ideal” situation.

“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world”

These are the immortal words of the Irish poet William Butler Yeats from a poem titled the Second Coming.   For those developers who learned their craft on the desktop and helped develop a digital universe that has the desktop firmly at its centre, Cloud Computing must be a reminder of these stark words.

The centre has shifted to the user who controls the time and space in a vast new digital universe where all things are connected.  Developers who seek their fortune in this new universe must face and survive seven ordeals and success will only favour those who come prepared.

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Happy New Year and Welcome to Morfik Blogs!

2010 is promising to be the year of Web OS and emergence of Web Business Applications. As one of the main supporters of this brave new world, the Morfik team has a strong feeling that it will also be the year of Morfik.

At its inception, the Morfik's founders envisioned an all-encompassing computing platform where the browser is the desktop, and set out to provide a state of the art Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that would rival, in performance and productivity, the best of what was available on the desktop platform.

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