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The MÄK FOM Editor: At Home on the Web

Posted by on MÄK Products

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.

Security

As we designed the MÄK FOM Editor, we gave much consideration to the public nature of it. We understand that many of our customers "“ in fact the great majority of them "“ work in closed environments with classified systems. While the MÄK FOM Editor is hosted on the MÄK webpage for all to use, many people will not be able to reach it. We are hopeful that FOMs typically remain unclassified and customers can do their development in an unclassified environment, only bringing the final product into their closed lab. However, we recognize that isn’t always possible. To address this, we will provide the MÄK FOM Editor to customers for use in a classified lab on request. Your MÄK sales rep (sales@mak.com) can help with this with only minimal cost.

For those who are using the MÄK FOM Editor on the MÄK web page, your data is still safe. All of your data remains on your computer 100% of the time. The MÄK FOM Editor is 100% client side code. We don’t save your FOM and we don’t even send it over the internet to our servers. Our servers just send Javascript code to you. The good news is that your FOM is your FOM. The bad news is that if you delete your browsers cache or lose your project file, we won’t be able to help you. Further, you may notice that no login is required to use the FOM Editor. To keep things secure, we keep them simple: MÄK just doesn’t keep any of your data. We are, of course, using Google Analytics "“ like most web pages "“ to see how heavily the application is being used, but that’s it.

Let us know what you think! Leave a comment below or get in touch at info@mak.com.

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