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15 years ago @ Feld Thoughts - What Happened To The 4GL? · 0 replies · +1 points

I had John McCarthy as my undergraduate advisor so I was exposed to Lisp at a very formative age and have never been able to fully expunge it from my system :-)))

I now have Mitchell Kertzman (of PowerBuilder fame) and Roger Sippl (of Informix 4GL fame) on the WaveMaker board, so we have the pedigree part of 4GL down!

You put your finger on the elephant under the table in programming today - it is no longer possible for mere mortals to build basic business applications.

Ten years ago, there were loads of ways to build client/server apps easily - PowerBuilder, MS Access, Lotus Notes, Filemaker. Today, none of those tools have made the leap to web architectures, leaving a huge market vacuum.

It has been so long since there have been decent tools for non-expert developers that people have literally forgotten what a 4GL even looks like. The best proof of this s the many comments on this thread by people who think that coding frameworks like Ruby on Rails and Django are reasonable substitutes for a 4GL.

This is not to slight Rails and Django, just to say that these products are targeting making hard-core developers even more productive. The underserved market here is all us poor pre-OO schmucks who just want to build a simple app without getting a PhD in Python (I prefer wine cellar management apps to art collection management apps but there you go). pretty much defined the 4GL in the cloud space, but is of course pretty SalesForce specific. Coghead and Bungee are definitely the leaders in the independent cloud 4GL space.

What is missing is a good open-source IDE for the cloud that uses standard languages like Javascript and Java. Aptana has an interesting story here and WaveMaker will have something to say here soon as well!