Interview: Greg Brown & Todd Volkert from the Pivot Framework
VMware Remote Access client in Pivot
Who do you anticipate to be the target audience?
Todd. Developers of rich internet applications will benefit most from Pivot, but one of the things that's really great about Pivot is that the runtime container (browser vs. native application window) is abstracted away from the developer, meaning that the same application can be deployed in an applet or on the desktop without any code changes. As such, Pivot is a good choice for any cross-platform application developer.
How has the response been?
Todd. We just announced it this week, but so far, the response has been very positive.
Can you walk us through a very basic step-by-step "getting started" scenario?
Greg. The Pivot tutorial is probably the best place to start:
It includes the traditional "Hello World" application and is an easy way to get started using Pivot. It also includes more detailed information on how to use many of Pivot's features (note, however, that it is still a work in progress, and many sections are incomplete).
Javadoc for Pivot can be found here, but it is also a bit incomplete in some areas:
What are your personal favorite features?
Todd. The XML declarative markup, WTKX, is a personal favorite of mine. I had to prototype a medium-sized application given a handful of screen mock-ups, and in under 4 hours, I was able to get a functional prototype up and running:
I only had to write about 20 lines of Java code; the rest was all done in WTKX. It yields a great separation of code and presentation logic, which makes for a much more maintainable code base, but it's also a great prototyping tool!
Greg. Personally, I'm very happy with the whole package. All of the classes in the various libraries work really well together. That doesn't mean that they are tightly coupled, though—they can also be used independently. The entire platform is geared towards allowing developers to do what they need to do as seamlessly and efficiently as possible.
As an example, I really like the fact that I can execute a web query, have it return a List object, and set that list as the data model of a table view. We do this in the Stock Tracker application in the tutorial. This application displays a list of stock quotes retrieved from Yahoo! Finance (http://finance.yahoo.com). It's very simple and clean—the whole thing happens in just a few lines of code. However, it is not simplicity at the expense of flexibility. If you want more control over anything in Pivot, you'll probably find a hook into it. Even then, we don't sacrifice elegance for flexibility. Everything just works together very well.
Pivot Stock Tracker demo running in Safari