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Developers discovered the high-speed programming methodology  

Now let us turn to the subject of our review, which is the JavaScript Framework Webix and its creator   Maksim Kozhukh.  

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In this review, we will talk about the software development industry. The main product of this industry is ideas embodied in the form of software products and services. These can be countless mobile applications, as well as large ERP systems for managing all processes in modern enterprises. Today it is one of the fastest-growing and most dynamic sectors of the global economy.

  What are the challenges faced by startups and software developers?

  1. The quality of the development. We will also include security and compatibility. Everything that can cause problems and failures in the application or the entire system. Today, the IT sector is developing so fast that new products tend to get to the market as soon as possible, which affects their quality. The reasons can be remarkably diverse, from insufficiently thorough testing to the use of “raw”, not run-in frameworks.
  2. Development cost. The explosive growth of the IT sector led to high demand for developers, which led to higher wages and higher prices for final software products. We must admit that software development is an expensive and costly production.
  3. The speed of development. The modern market equates the success of a product with the speed of its delivery to the market. Besides, the speed factor is tied to the previous two challenges (quality and cost).

However, these challenges are not exclusive to the IT-sphere but are canonical factors in any production or technical process, that sets the balance between price, quality, and production speed.

Now let us turn to the subject of our review, which is the JavaScript Framework Webix and its creator   Maksim Kozhukh.

Maksim is the head of Webix and a software architect with 20+ years of experience and extensive expertise in web technologies. Started IT in Netscape age and came through all web industry trends, disasters, and inventions.

  • So, Max, can your product cut the Gordian knot of “triple limitation” and make software products both cheap, high-quality, and produced in the shortest possible time?
  • No.
  • This may probably be the end of our interview, but let us give you a chance to tell us more.
  • Thank you for this opportunity. Indeed, we cannot make false promises. All attempts to unify the process of developing software in one way or another go against the various constraints and conventions. Today, you can quickly and cheaply build a single-page website on any blogging platform. But this will not be a professional decision. You can use incredibly cool systems like Sitecore, but this is hardly an affordable solution.

Our product is a successful attempt to break the vicious circle of price-quality in a very narrow but popular area, which is the creation of business-oriented web apps. And not so much whole web apps as the user interface for web apps.

  • Why the UI? Would it be more logical to focus on the back-end or something more time-consuming?
  • There are several reasons. First, the UI can be as expensive to develop as a back-end layer. Second, many ideas and startups focus on visualizing users’ requirements as a UI layer. A UI prototype is something that can be shown to investors to get funding. Third, the entire UX sphere is greatly undervalued, which is expressed either in an insufficient number of UI developers or in their insufficient skills. We are aware of these problems since we are a major software vendor and we have created the Webix product primarily for ourselves. And only then we did introduce it to the market.
  • Still, why not follow the path of Vaadin, which develops back-end and front-end on a single Java-based framework?
  • It is all about flexibility and versatility. We were not bound by any framework or system restrictions. Look at our blog, in the case studies section, and there you will find examples of implementation for a variety of platforms, up to .Net bases SharePoint.
  • Tell us more about the product itself.
  • Webix is a UI framework and JavaScript library. In other words, it is a web development tool for the fast development of web interfaces. The product is aimed at both professional developers who want to save time on developing the UI layer, and junior developers who want to start benefiting their employer as soon as possible. From a practical point of view, Webix is more than 100 UI controls and widgets that can be used to build any business application. In addition to this, users get another set of tools for more convenient and fast development: a microframework for proper application support and customization, a visual UI designer, a template catalog, documentation, and user support. I would also like to highlight the complex widgets. These are full-fledged SPA applications for the most popular application tasks: File management, User management, Task management, Scheduler, SQL queries, Chat-messenger.
  • Sounds standard. How do you differ from other libraries?
  • Because we do not try to solve all the problems at once. We focused on complex business functions, created a whole eco-environment in which these functions work perfectly, and brought the functionality to perfection. For example, we will not offer specialized solutions for each separate framework or system platform. Experienced developers can easily handle this with the help of existing documentation. But we do offer high-performance and feature-rich components. For example, our DataGrid has more than 20 features (clipboard support, shortcuts, context menu, drag-n-drop, filters, data validation, pagination, rowspan, colspan, grid grouping). Another feature of Webix is its verified design. We promote our product as a carrier of material design expertise for any projects. We have worked hard to ensure that all widgets are perfectly compatible. Webix users get a correct and beautiful material design right out of the box.
  • Is not the low speed of work payment for such a fancy functionality?
  • Conversely. Webix shows one of the best rendering speed for the DataGrid widget (according to the study of Bryntum specialists). Note that this is not our research, it was conducted by competing developers.
  • What is the entry threshold for your product?
  • You should love object-oriented programming and know the basics of JavaScript. You can learn the rest yourself with the help of study materials, interactive tutorials, examples, and ready-made templates.
  • And yet, what is the point of your product when there is Angular or React?
  • This is one of the most frequently asked questions. We do not compete with global platforms such as Angual or React. We complement them organically. Webix is easily integrated into any architecture. Yes, the designated frameworks have their component libraries. But they are not as functional and versatile as our solutions. An experienced developer is aware of how much time and resources they will spend on customizing or implementing the necessary features for the pure React library. While Webix already offers a ready-made solution. And here we have touched on the cornerstone of our conversation, which is the “triple limitation”.

We have created our product to solve three important business cases:

  1. Prototyping. UI prototype is an essential part of the business analysis process – the first phase of the software development cycle. Webix allows you to quickly and efficiently get a UI prototype, even without resorting to programming. Or get the MVP as soon as possible. And all this at the earliest and most critical stage of the project’s development.
  2. Ready-made widget apps for popular application tasks. For example, our User Manager is a full-fledged admin panel, that includes back-end and can act as the core of any multi-user application.
  3. High-speed programming of the UI layer. Webix is simple and intuitive for those who are good at object-oriented programming. In exchange for some effort to learn the basics, Webix gives you fantastic functionality.
  • Still, there are some doubts. Maybe there is some Webix magic that attracts users?
  • Yes, it’s a kind of magic. Here is a beautiful example of how to use 12 lines of code to get a ready-made business application. And it works very cool and causes a WOW effect thanks to three factors:
  1. Predefined content. This is a very important component because it is not enough to just draw a control, you need to fill it with content to understand whether it is displayed correctly, whether it fits you, and whether the dimensions are set correctly. Only this feature saves several working hours for the developer.
  2. Fully functional, live application. All controls and features work here. The user can interact with the app without additional settings.
  3. Awesome design.

WOW-effect occurs because of repeated anticipating of the developers’ expectations. This is when you put a little effort and get a result that is not comparable in quality, functionality, and beauty.

  • Yes, now I admit that it can be impressive. We have talked about the quality and speed of development. But what is it about the price?
  • Webix is distributed as a free opensource library. This is a full version of the product, but it does not include some widgets and complex widgets. For those who need more functionality or who need a commercial license to release commercial products, we offer Webix Pro. The price starts from USD 450 per individual license for one developer.
  • Explain why you cannot use the opensource package to develop a commercial product. Is this forbidden?
  • No, it is not. Of course, you can use the opensource package to develop a commercial product, subject to the GNU GPL3 license rules. But the main issue is the completeness of intellectual property rights. If you are going to buy or sell software products in the future, you should study the product’s license profile to understand where your intellectual property rights begin and end. This is much easier to do with a commercial license.
  • Thank you for your interesting story, and we wish you success in developing this fascinating product.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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