Integrated Client-Server Application Development

Great look at a fascinating solution-driven technology, well written and useful, not entirely objective.


SilverStream is an integrated client-server development environment based on a proprietary application server implementation. The application server is a web server, with database extensions, that delivers a three-tiered architecture to customers. The value added proposition is that SilverStream comes with a complete development environent (IDE) that provides views and editors that let you manipulate tables, forms, web pages, objects and agents with relative ease, locally or remotely. The books comes with an evaluation version on disk so you can experiment directly with the product while exploring the many examples. SilverStream has gotten a lot of attention in the press for their innovative approach. If you’re developing multi-tiered web applications, this book will give you enough information to understand the technology and possibly help you evaluate whether it might be useful in your particular environment.

Most of the readers interested in multi-tiered web applications are looking for enterprise-level solutions. SilverStream solves many problems and the authors are quick to set the stage by exploring the web landscape and shortcomings of other approaches in the first chapter. Chapter 2 "Introduction to SilverStream" provides a well crafted overview of what SilverStream really is and what its capable of. Chapter 3, "Getting Started" leads you through the development interface design. Chapter 4 "Connecting to Databases" shows how you can connect to alternate or multiple database systems. Once you’ve read these chapters, you are ready to do some actual work with SilverStream.

Chapters 5 and 6 cover creating relational tables and table relationships using the development environment. Chapter 7 covers "Creating Views" on the data, which can be presented and editited by using Forms, explored in Chapters 8 and 9. Forms can have associated event triggers which can perform validation or other tasks. Chapter 10 explores the HTML page editor and Chapter 11 looks at deployment issues. Chapter 12 "Working With Data" introduces agents and how they are used to manage database information. The Expression Builder, Validation, Testing and Security each have their own chapters.

By the time you reach Chapter 17, you should be ready to apply some of the more advanced features. Chapter 17 covers the object store, which is where Java objects are stored. Agents are revisited and expanded on in Chapters 18 to 20. This is where the real programming takes place. Chapter 21 talks about the e-mail capabilities bundled in with SilverStream and Chapter 22 looks at server administration. Various issues which are only touched upon earlier in the book end up in Chapter 23, "Miscelaneous Items". These include full text searching and retrieval, versioning and Enterprise JavaBeans. The books wraps up with a quick review of what Java programming basics are necessary to use the product.

If you’re developing enterprise client/server applications, youre knowledge can’t help but be enriched by this book. It’s probable that much of what SilverStream does today will become common thinking in the years to come and even if you don’t use it directly, there’s a lot to be gained from reading this book. If you’re evaluating SilverStream as a potential solution or actually planning to use it in your environment, this book is fluid, instructive and a pleasure to read. The technology is interesting, innovative and well worth exploring.