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Something for the developer community

We have amassed a large set of tools over the twenty-odd years we have been actively engaged in software development. Some of these we wrote ourselves, and while we have always been ready to extol the merits of the third party libraries we choose to purchase, it has never occurred to us that the utilities we have written ourselves might be worthy of the same accolades.

Well, its time that changed.

Over the past 3 years or so we have been using a little in-house written utility we affectionately call the ORM Tool. It's not really an ORM editor or designer. In fact, it's more like a code generator, because all it really does is, well, generate code. The reason we call it the ORM tool is because during a phase where we were changing our design platforms, particularly our move to an n-tier architecture, ORM was a much discussed topic, and like most programmers, we were reluctant to use a code generator, even one we built ourselves. Code generators have a well-earned reputation for being inflexible and uncomprehensive. Why would we write one of our own?

Well, it turns out that, like any change, there was good news and bad news. The good news about ORM and n-tier architecture is it is much easier to provide a strong, robust, secure, but flexible architecture that is fast at runtime, easy to implement at design time, and almost a no-brainer when it comes to newbie programmers learning the model. (Not that we have any 'no-brainer' programmers working for us!)

The bad news when it comes to an n-tier model is that programmers think themselves more like super heroes than code monkeys. They like to be challenged. They like to be given a difficult task and have it solved by lunchtime. And that is where n-tier was a dead duck. The truth be known, 80% of an n-tier architecture is repetitive, mundane coding. It does not inspire excitement. It does not exist on anyone's bucket list. So, we were either faced with unhappy programmers, or find a better solution. Enter our ORM Tool.

Now, as I say, it is not really an ORM tool, more like a code generator; but it is powerful enough to help us write WORKman, our flagship product which is awesome it its capabilities, (and we are only just getting started). 

If you are a programmer and you are vaguely interested in the n-tier architecture, or you are a seasoned coder and you know the value of the model, but can't stand the thought of becoming a code monkey again, then take a look at our article on Code Project under the title of "nTier Code Generator".

You can also download the ORM tool for your own use from our public download page.

Posted by Mark Chimes
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