Wednesday, October 26th, 2005

Backbase 3.1 Released

Category: Toolkit

Backbase has made their flagship product available for download.

What’s new in 3.1

More user interface controls

  • Date picker
  • Context menu
  • Sidebar
  • Custom select/combo boxes
  • Charting components mix Flash with Ajax

Support for XPath 2.0

Backbase 3.1 now contains support for XPath 2.0:
XPath is used to select nodes in an HTML or XML documents, but also to
make calculations. It’s one of the most essential building blocks of
the Backbase software.


Client-side Variables can contain a single value, but also a
complete piece of XML or HTML. This is useful for a large variety of
cases, for example to cache a piece of XML for processing at a later
point in time: you specify this piece of XML with an XPath expression.
Responses from the server can also be loaded into a variable.

Improved Data binding

If you would like to load data into a user interface Control,
you have basically two options: transform the data on the server, or on
the client. Server-side transformation works as good as ever, but
version 3.1 has introduced improved client-side data binding. A server
can send pure XML to the client, which is then transformed with an XSLT
stylesheet. This is very similar to the XML data islands pattern as described on

Focus model

With the browser’s standard Form controls – such as input boxes
and buttons – you can use the Tab- and arrow keys to navigate. When you
start creating your own user interface controls – such as a tab control
– you need to implement keyboard navigation yourself. The Backbase
Focus model makes this much easier: you can add b:focusgroup and b:focusitems attributes and the Backbase engine takes care of the rest.

Mix JavaScript and BXML

As you probably know, Backbase uses tags to define Rich
Internet Applications: this is so-called declarative development. In
some cases you might have existing JavaScript code that you want to
integrate. For this scenario you can now seamlessly include JavaScript
code using the <s:script> tag.

Improved Back/Forward support

Version 3.0 already supported the Back-button and bookmarking, but in this version we have improved it. All known limitations
are now solved, so we provide best of class support for the
back/forward button, bookmarking, page refresh and deeplinking. This
can be implemented with the <s:history> tag.


Posted by Dion Almaer at 11:40 am

4 rating from 3 votes


Comments feed

Congrats on your new release! Nice work with the history stuff; did you end up using a hidden form to help solve history issues? Was the Really Simple History library useful for you to solve these issues (it’s BSD so there’s no problem using it in commercial projects).

Comment by Brad Neuberg — October 26, 2005

Hi Brad, I think we use a combination of iframe and hashes in the URL, but no hidden forms. We already released the first s:history version in July, and improvements quickly thereafter (released now with 3.1). So we did not know of the Really Simple History library yet.

Comment by Jep Castelein — October 26, 2005


why would aI want to pay for something like backbase, or any of the commercial ajax toolkits (clearnova, etc.), when there are so many compelling opensource alternatives? a comparison chart stating the objective advantages of the alternatives would be helpful.

I watched a recent talk by a clearnova guy, and I had to wonder what the value of their system was – great now I can send pings between my browser…yet they went on about how they were ‘built for app development’ and the alternatives were for toy websites. when someone asked about xform support, the answer was ‘uh, no’ – yet I can find this as OS in many palces (zimbra, Orbeon, etc.,etc.)

backbase does seem to have many good examples of using their code in example apps – but I’m otherwise missing the value add of many of these commercial alternatives

I would happily pay for a toolkit, if I thought it would save me dev time.


Comment by rupert — October 26, 2005

I should not have been so hard on the Clearnova app, I was reviewing their site this evening and came across this screen shots:

which show a much richer development environment than the ping example I had witnessed at a sales talk – will have to look into their tools further – still would like to know how these options compete with the other open source alternatives using xforms


Comment by rupert — October 27, 2005


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