I started learning a new tool and framework that I am really excited about. ?It?s called Wakanda, and it is awesome!? It?s a complete Javascript stack with its own design studio and integrated design environment (IDE), plus a NoSQL database engine and web server. This relatively new framework comes from the makers of 4D, who hail from France and who have very deep database roots. I know, because for an entire decade of my life (1993 – 2003), I used to use 4D to build internal database applications for my company.

What can you do with it?
Wakanda is a full web app development framework, where you can build a database model (like tables and fields, and link them up with relationships between tables) and then also build web pages (with interactive elements like buttons, sliders, and tabs) to capture and display the information in your data model, plus you can target desktop PCs, tablets, and smartphones. All from one visual tool, which uses plain javascript. It?s very cool and relatively easy to learn. So with this one single tool, you could build a fully working database-driven HTML5 web application that renders well on browsers accessed via desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones.

One of the cooler things about this framework is that it uses a super fast NoSQL database that contains elements of SQL, so you can still connect tables and fields together just like you did with relational databases, but with the speed of a noSQL database engine. Testing your app on the server is as simple as clicking a single button.

Getting Started
Getting started building web pages is also pretty easy to do in Wakanda. When you first build a page, you can target either desktop, tablet, or smartphone and then drop widgets (buttons, grids, text fields, combo-boxes, radio buttons, etc.) onto your page. ?Connecting the widgets on the page to the data model is as simple as dragging and dropping your datastore on top of the widget and then customizing which fields should interact with the widget. Each widget also contains event scripts that you can edit. So, for example, if you wanted a button to invoke a particular action when a user clicks on it, then all you would do is click on the ?on click? event element and add your javascript code. Styling your widgets with colors, drop shadows, font sizes, etc. is also very easy via the Styles tab.

While all this may sound complex, it’s really pretty easy to learn, and because it?s all in javascript, you can extend the power of your application through the use of other tools as well, or even outsource portions that you can?t handle on your own. ?So really, you aren?t tied to only using Wakanda to build your application…but it sure makes it easy to start and to control what it is you are wanting to build.

Next Step
I have now viewed most of the online video tutorials, read quite a bit of documentation, and completed several how-to tutorials. But to really learn this tool?and any tool, for that matter?I am going to need to start a real application. ?I have one in mind, which I will attempt to build in Wakanda over the next month or two, and I will write about my experience then.

Check it out for yourself at http://wakanda.org. There are various options, including a free open source version, commercial versions, and an enterprise version.

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