mrc Goes Fully Graphical with Development Tool Interface
November 3, 2009 Alex Woodie
Users of mrc‘s m-Power application development tool will find the product much easier to use as the result of a comprehensive overhaul of the user interface, the company reports. The company has replaced text-based menus with new graphical elements that should make navigating the product much more intuitive and productive.
m-Power is a Web application development tool that is used to generate J2EE-based Web portals, e-commerce sites, executive dashboards, business intelligence systems, and other applications that run on System i, Windows, Linux, and other servers. The tool utilizes a model-based development approach that takes advantage of programmers’ existing knowledge of their databases, thereby eliminating the need to learn new languages and syntaxes.
And with the recent update to m-Power’s interface, developers can accomplish most tasks with a mouse, and don’t need to be keyboard whizzes or experts at navigating text-based menus, either. “Anyone that can click a mouse can now develop Web applications with m-Power,” says Brian Crowley, mrc’s director of development.
The biggest change may be the addition of a navigation bar to the interface. The navigation bar allows the user to move freely throughout the entire m-Power product, without going back to text-based menus, mrc says. There is a “bread crumb trail” in the navigation bar that lets a user go back to previous screens, while a drop-down menu provides handy access to any development option from any screen.
In its overhaul, mrc deleted all text-based menus in m-Power, and replaced them with graphical icons and drop down menus, which it says are easier to comprehend. The change is expected to make the product much easier and more intuitive to use.
For example, to access certain development options, users previously had to return to the main menu. In the new release, development options can be accessed from any screen via the new drop-down menus.
The ease-of-use factor was also increased as a result of the new “application hub” (or application menu) feature in m-Power. The application hub functions as the control center for the application build process and helps the user view and organize the specifications needed to build an application, as well as optional specs, operations, and the selected template, mrc says.
“Basically, we rounded up everything the m-Power user would need in the build process and put it all in the application hub,” says mrc marketing director Steve Hansen.
The reaction of m-Power experts to the new release has been “overwhelmingly positive,” Hansen says. “They feel the graphical interface is much more intuitive and easy to understand,” he says via e-mail. “In the past, they would have to read through all the text-based options, but now they easily associate the images in the new interface with their functions.”
The m-Power update was not associated with any particular release number, owing to mrc’s preference for trickling out updates and enhancement on a nearly continual basis. The company offers several licensing and subscription options for its software, with straight licensing starting at about $10,000. For more information, trial downloads, and demos, visit www.mrc-productivity.com.