E-biz turns software development upside down

E-business is turning the traditional approach to software development on its head, according to Christchurch software development company Jade.

E-business is turning the traditional approach to software development on its head, according to Christchurch software development company Jade.

As part of its latest release of the Jade development suite Jade 5.1, the company has come out with a new product that puts the user interface first, as opposed to the data and back end processes.

Jade general manager sales and marketing, Owen Scott, says the JUICE (Jade User Interface Construction Engine) interface design tool was designed for the development of e-business applications and highlights the importance of the user interface in the e-business world.

“With e-commerce you don’t have the luxury of training people how to use the system,” says Scott, “because they could be customers, partners and buyers on other side of world.

"Therefore the systems have to be incredibly intuitive and a massive amount of importance is now put on the user interface.

“So right at the start of development we had graphic artists help design our computer systems. JUICE then takes their work and applies it to a system.

"People building Jade systems, can either use our graphic artists or their own and using JUICE apply their work to the e-commerce system they’ve developed.”

Scott says this represents a major mind shift. “For e-business system developers need to take business requirements, design an interface to attract and empower users, and then construct the logic and data structures to deliver on that.”

Another major feature of the new release is that Jade will start renting it over the Internet. The move makes Jade one of the first companies to offer development tools available via the application service provider (ASP) model as opposed to software applications.

Jade has been offering Jade-based applications (including a sales analysis program for pharmacists, a cash book aimed at small businesses and a payroll package) for rent through its ASP division JadeDirect since last year.

Scott says there are no customers renting the new version of Jade yet but he expects an online pilot to be running by the end of the year. Internally, the company has been running Jade over the Internet between staff in Melbourne, Dunedin and Christchurch and there is particularly strong interest from Jade development shops in India.

“Having to pay for technology up front is quite a hurdle so this makes Jade more accessible for small to medium developers in New Zealand. They pay a monthly fee and hire it for as long as they need the software for a project.

“Also they don’t have to buy the software as an asset which gives tax benefits.”

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