In my previous blog post, I announced that Projexsys is working to leverage Google Polymer as the basis of a new SDK for use by OEMs and integrators.
However, while Polymer blows open the doors to component-driven development, it does little to ease the complexities of developing highly concurrent applications. So our team at Projexsys is taking it further…
Ply is Projexsys’ forthcoming “pure Web” (no browser plugins!) SDK for Industrial Web Apps. Ply builds on Google Polymer by embodying a dynamic Statechart interpreter in terms of custom elements, allowing application control flow to be expressed declaratively, along with little bits of imperative “glue” code. Statecharts are a tried-and-true, standardized means of describing concurrent applications. Their origins lie in the innovation of professor and businessman David Harel, who invented them in the 1980s as a tool for avionics engineers to formally model their complex, interconnected systems of hardware and software. We believe that same formalism is well-suited to today’s complex Web apps – which interconnect a myriad of users and services – and will offer a much-preferred alternative to hand-rolled imperative control flow.
Note: the above sample is somewhat simplified, i.e. it does not provide a complete overview of Ply’s usage and features, including how such statecharts are embedded within and intended to be “wired to” host components, which render the managed data into visuals and forward events and data changes to the Ply components. Forthcoming code samples and demos will complete the picture, so stay tuned.
Our conventions and interpreter are inspired partly by the SCXML standard, and one of Ply’s core aims is providing a straightforward mechanism for consuming and implementing services, whether they are expressed as intra-component APIs, or as Web services using WSDL and SOAP/XML, WADL, or plain REST. The benefit is that .Net and other developers commited to service-oriented architecture (OPC UA is itself billed as an SOA) can allow their services mindset to directly inform their client-side Web apps, and vice versa! As rapid prototyping and iteration with microservices becomes a mainstay in the development of inter-connected applications, the ability to painlessly leverage those same SOAs directly in the browser will become an increasingly big deal.
Modular and OEM-friendly
The core Ply framework will be open source under a business-friendly reciprocal license, with the option of a non-repricocal commercial license. Our OEMs will be able to build proprietary kits and modules around Ply, for sale through or to their vendors and integrators, and Projexsys will provide paid support to commercial licensees. As the core framework solidifes, Projexsys will be looking to builds its own reference suite of modules and advanced tooling — visual authoring, integration testing, profiling and optimization — to enhance development with Ply, which will likewise be available for OEM packaging.
In the next blog post, I will further explore Projexsys’ business vision for Ply.