Maybe you’ve seen the newest addition to the MÄK Product Suite: the MÄK FOM Editor. Some of you may have been surprised to see it’s a web page " most modeling and simulation applications are heavyweight desktop applications. MÄK is leading the industry by bringing lightweight and powerful web applications to the modeling and simulation community. For this article, I want to describe why we choose the web for the MÄK FOM Editor and discuss some of the technologies that enabled it. I will also talk briefly about security and what is happening to your data when you use it.
At home on the web
We chose to develop the MÄK FOM Editor as a web-based application because we could do it quickly with less hassle than a standard desktop application. First, we could develop it once and deploy it on any platform for which our customers had a web browser (we assume you all do). Second, since there is no heavyweight deployment process, it means we could release new versions of it " with bug fixes and new features " almost every day! While the former makes development cheap enough , the latter is really the best part. Within a day of using it, one of the first users reported a few minor problems and within hours they were resolved.
If you follow it closely, you will see changes every single day. We have started building in FOM checking tools " ways to analyze your work. Each night more tests go into the application and each morning you can try them out. We are also working with a few users to continually improve ease of use. Yes, hosted development makes this rapid turnaround process possible.
The right technology
While the MÄK Labs group is leveraging one HTML 5 technology, Web Sockets to build the WebLVC standard, the MÄK FOM Editor is leveraging another HTML 5 technology, File Systems to manipulate your object model in your browser. A year ago or so the only viable approach to manipulating a complex Object Model was server side, likely through PHP and a SQL database. By moving the database manipulation into your browser, we were able to greatly simplify the application. With this architectural change, client side development was faster and cheaper making it free for you to use.