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DataFlex - Features


Designed to build business software faster at lower cost.

The features developers need...

Whether you need a new mobile web app or a complete line-of-business application spanning mobile, desktop browsers and Windows, DataFlex has the development and deployment features developers need to build your software.

With DataFlex, application building starts by simply dragging pre-defined, data-aware controls into the visual designer. The Studio will use the framework to generate error-free code to integrate the controls into the visual design, apply business rules and use the assigned database without further effort by the programmer. Faster development; fewer errors and less cost - DataFlex!

To deliver easily consumable information, intuitive interaction and an exceptional user experience, web applications for today’s wide range of mobile devices require special design and implementation. Being responsive is just part of the requirement set; small screens and limited input capabilities require a carefully crafted architecture and keyboardless touch controls.

The DataFlex framework includes specific resources to make developing responsive, single page, interactive mobile web applications fast and easy. Mobile-specific, "drill-down" navigation and page designs are incorporated into the DataFlex framework. And, since mobile apps are built on the same framework and data dictionaries as desktop browser and Windows applications, business rules are always consistently managed and enforced across all environments.

There are many advantages to centrally deploying and managing fully-featured business applications over the web. It is challenging and expensive however to deliver the rich user experience of Windows desktop applications in a browser. No longer.... DataFlex enables the rapid development of Windows-like "single page" web applications with the rich functionality, features and navigation control. The DataFlex framework offers many parallel application-building resources and visual controls for Windows and web; the same Data Dictionaries are used for absolute data control and consistency regardless of how applications are deployed.

A key difference from web-only application development platforms is DataFlex’s extensive resource set for building Enterprise-grade Windows applications. Windows user interfaces developed with DataFlex excel in navigation control, data entry, validation and updating - the core operations of all large-scale business database applications. DataFlex Windows applications provide users with:

  • A Multiple Document Interface (MDI) presentation of views
  • Data-aware pull-down menus, button-bar and keyboard application and data navigation
  • Pop-up context menus, dropdown lists, checkboxes, radio buttons and more...
  • Status Help, selection lists, validation tables, confirmations and warnings on all data operations controlled by central data dictionaries - the same data dictionaries used for web applications.

These fully customizable Windows application components are automatically generated by the visual design tools in DataFlex Studio.  Data-aware controls are defined at the Data Dictionary level thereby reducing programming time and creating user interface consistency across the entire application while saving countless project hours.

Being productive as a developer means being able to configure your working environment to suit your personal style, structure and navigation preferences. With DataFex Studio, you can design great applications and the environment in which you build them. Work your way, change your way of working at will and have the system retain every detail of your environment so it’s always ready to help you get to work, your way.

  • Completely configurable menus, toolbars and docking windows
  • Nested Grouping
  • Tear Off Tabs
  • Sliding Auto Hide
  • Pin-able Windows
  • Float and Dock Panels
  • Drag-n-Drop Positioning
  • Development and Debugging configurations
  • Extremely configurable
  • Remembers all settings when closed

DataFlex Studio wizards automate recurring programming tasks like database connection, workspace definition and even generating the initial code for header-detail framework-based applications.

DataFlex applications are inherently database independent; they can easily be deployed on the SQL DBMS server of your choice using a "Connectivity Kit." The "kits" enable connecting DataFlex applications to the selected database transparently without needing code changes. They also include wizards that will migrate your data from the embedded database to an SQL database server without programming.

Connectivity Kits contain drivers and/or configurations for Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, MariaDB, Amazon Aurora, IBM DB2, Pervasive.SQL (Btrieve) and any ODBC-enabled data source including Oracle, Excel, Access and more. Licensing is simple: one low fee provides entitlements to use any or all available Connectivity Kits with user-counted DataFlex Windows Clients or WebApp Servers.

Business applications typically have a standard set of requirements - project definition, database connection, component integration and more. DataFlex Studio manages these requirements in a developer’s dashboard - an easy reference point to check that essentials are implemented, track ToDo items and identify omissions that can save testing and debugging time. The dashboard also forms a valuable learning tool for new users to understand what they will need to add to the framework to have a complete, functional application.

Studio can fully integrate standard and custom class libraries and generate compilable application code. Integrated source-level debugging helps track down and fix problems quickly and easily.

12 books of searchable, hyper-linked, content covering every aspect of Dataflex software development and deployment: tutorials, in-depth explanations and examples, exhaustive reference of commands, class hierarchy, properties, methods, and events – read at your leisure – or display instantly in context while working on your project.

DataFlex WebApp Server is the secure, scalable application server that runs DataFlex browser based and mobile web applications and web services. It is designed to deliver high performance, reliability and configuration flexibility. From a single virtual server to server clusters, DataFlex WebApp Server offers extensive options for security, performance, load balancing and failover protection. Web applications and services can be deployed on premise, on cloud platforms you manage or on DataFlex Cloud. Applications can be scaled and migrated from one form of deployment to another as requirements change.

Windows desktop solutions are deployed with a DataFlex Client Engine that interfaces the application with the Windows operating system, handles network and database connections and more.

Start Center helps new users become productive quickly and provides experienced users with a convenient launch point.

Start Center is your on-line, up-to-the-minute information center. Wizards generate error-free, ready-to-compile code for Windows, web browser and web services applications and components.

DataFlex Studio Start Center

Web services are driving many companies’ application strategies today. DataFlex enables building, publishing and consuming web services as well as browser-based applications and Windows client-server solutions in a single, integrated environment.

View published examples of DataFlex-powered Web Services.

Learn more about Web Services in DataFlex.

At the core of all DataFlex web and mobile applications and web services  is the high performance DataFlex WebApp Server. Technically, WebApp Server is a compact, highly-efficient, C++ based application and transaction processing engine that can connect to a variety of database options. DataFlex WebApp Server’s design provides a fundamentally secure environment...

  • An HTML interface defines app’s visual properties and a secure messaging protocol for communication with the application server.
  • Server-side applications are driven entirely by messages - application code and database access and manipulation are compiled and run entirely in the server. Web clients or services never directly execute applications or access databases.

The DataFlex framework produces browser-based web applications using XHTML, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), JavaScript and XML. Using the framework, web applications are controlled by server-side DataFlex objects that manage the web user interface, application logic and business rules all of which are assembled as a compiled application that runs on the WebApp Server.

Web application pages are updated dynamically using web-services. This allows for "single page applications" (SPA) taht are updated without regenerating or refreshing the entire page. The result is faster, better looking web applications that deliver a better user experience.

DataFlex web apps take full advantage of business rules - web client side validations occur without page-specific or app-specific coding once data dictionaries are built. Client-side JavaScript classes for desktop browsers include controls that support multi-column data entry grids, popup selection lists, tab-pages and much more when desktop-like application functionality is required. All with just a few lines of application code.

Rich, highly functional mobile and web apps

The DataFlex framework includes a library of pre-programmed, data-aware web and mobile controls so developers can code less and create great-looking, feature rich applications more quickly.

Security, performance and scalability

The DataFlex WebApp SPLF Server that provides Security, Performance, Load Balancing and Fail-over services and resources to uo to 255 clustered DataFlex WebApp Servers running users’ applications.

Solution developers spend a high percentage of their time authoring and editing source code. DataFlex’s superior Code Editor provides the essential features required as well as a host of advanced editing features referred to as "CodeSense" that automate routine tasks, reduce keystrokes, reduce errors and generally accelerate the development process.

  • Always concurrently shows live source that’s synchronized with the Visual Designer
    • No required markers
    • No system imposed markup or structure
  • Automatic source code structuring
    • Indentation
    • Command syntax casing
  • Set Debugger breakpoints directly in source
  • Unlimited levels of Undo/Redo
  • CodeSense

    DataFlex Studio’s Source Code Editor accelerate the development process.

    • Code Completion
    • List Members - a context sensitive list of applicable commands, classes, data types, methods, variables, constants, objects, etc.
    • Command Auto Completion
    • Begin / End, Object / End_object, Class / End_Class, etc.
    • Quick Info - hover over source and get information
    • Object Browser - provides a focused list of methods for the specified object
    • Parameter Info - see method parameter information as you type
    • GoTo Definition - Locates the definition of the symbol under the cursor
    • Load File Under Cursor - Jump to any file
  • Visible control and expression blocks
  • Flexible Finding options
    • File Search
    • File Incremental Search
    • Multi File Search
  • Font size zooming

A consistent theme seen in DataFlex developer surveys is simply that "it just works." Consistently, in thousands of business applications across many industries, DataFlex has provided what developers need. It just works with very high reliability in both development and deployment roles for enterprises large and small.

Software that "just works" is faster and more efficient for development and less troublesome when deployed. When business software "just works," end user satisfaction is higher and development and maintenance costs are lower. Are those features? DataFlex developers think they are.