While still in its infancy, the open-source tool generated interest at the recent IBM Rational Innovate 2012 conference.
A few years ago, when IBM was urging RPG developers to learn Java, a friend of mine who had decided to take the plunge stopped by the house on the final day of her intensive two-week training program in the cross-platform language. She was very bright and an accomplished RPG programmer, so I was stunned when she sheepishly confessed how difficult she had found the course material. And here I thought I was the only bonehead when it came to programming!
That was 15 years ago, and the RPG programmer community was then so traumatized by the exposure to Java that they retreated into their collective shell and took an oath never to attend another training class in any computer language (other than RPG) as long as they lived. And don't trust IBM if it ever again tries to pry your cold dead hands from your RPG-friendly keyboard.
While Maqetta was introduced last year, much work by the Maqetta team at Dojo Foundation was done to add new features and track down bugs during the past 12 months. Officially, Maqetta is still at the Technology Preview stage, and not yet released as V1.0, but a number of users apparently have found it operational enough to use for project development, based on forum comments. Nevertheless, there still are bugs, important features not yet fully implemented, and performance and usability issues. The team, however, is pushing for release of V 1.0 during the second half of 2012.
Here are a few highlights of Maqetta's features:
Drag-and-Drop Page Assembly
- Edit on-screen visually
- Drag/drop from Widget palette
- Drag/drop images from Files palette
- Drag/drop rearrangement on canvas or in Outline palette
- Resize widgets
- Control data pop-up
- Control/change widget's parent
Toolbar for Common Editing Operations
- Preview in browser
- Save and save as
- Switch theme
- Flow versus absolute layout
- Sticky notes
- View modes: source versus design versus split
Other feature highlights include:
- Widget Palette: Choose HTML elements or widget libraries
- Properties Palette: Customize widgets
- Outline Palette: Order page hierarchy, rearrange widgets, control visibility
To try the current preview release, you can either launch the hosted version of the application at Maqetta.org or download the code and run the application locally on a desktop or Web server (advisable if you wish to protect your files). You can even try the hosted version without registering, although your files will disappear when your session ends.
The Maqetta team is looking for a few good programmers and other volunteers, so if you find you are intrigued by this project, there are a number of ways that you can help the community bring this open-source project to fruition, all outlined on the Maqetta.org Web site.