CloudWriter FAQ


What is CloudWriter?

CloudWriter is a server-side object-oriented scripting language, relational database, and various objects for producing HTML.  Much of its syntax resembles C, C++ and Java with a couple of unique CloudWriter-specific features thrown in.  The goal of the language is to allow web developers to write dynamically generated pages quickly and deploy them inexpensively.

How does CloudWriter differ from other server-side scripting languages?

CloudWriter is a programming language that supports embedded HTML.  Other scripting languages like PHP and VB are essentially HTML with bits of embedded script.  The advantage of doing it the CloudScript way may not be obvious from this explanation, but once you try it, you'll discover that the programming-language model is cleaner, more logical, and more flexible than the embedded script model.  We believe it leads to more scalable, more modifiable web applications.

How does CloudWriter compare with ASP?

ASP is not really a language in itself, it's the initials for Active Server Pages.  The actual language used to program ASP is a script version of Visual Basic. And that is the main problem.  It is based on Basic which is less flexible and less scalable than the CloudWriter scripting language.  Also, ASP is pretty-much limited to Microsoft IIS.  It is not portable.  There are, however, some projects to port ASP to other environments

How does CloudWriter compare with Microsoft .net?

.net provides a number of services not yet contemplated by CW and some (like P2P) that we are working on.  If you use CW you will see that it is compact and is the result of a clear vision that a simple solution is what is most effective for a large portion of implementors.

How does CloudWriter compare with ColdFusion?

ColdFusion is an extension of HTML.  It uses extended HTML (<CFIF>, <CFELSE>, etc) tags to do program logic and format data extracted from a database.  It is a very clever extension of HTML however it is much less flexible and slower than a real programming language like CloudWriter.

How does CloudWriter compare with PHP, Perl, Python, et al?

The best way to answer this question for yourself is to try it.  These Open Source languages have many benefits if you are willing to make the investment to understand how to build them and integrate them with the database.  The principle obvious benefit is zero cost if you don't count the cost of your time. 

What is a web application server?

Very simple.  Web servers retrieve files on the server and send them back to the client's web browser.  If the files are ordinary HTML files (which end with .htm or .html), they send them back as-is.  If they end in in something else (like .asp, .jsp or .cw), then the web server calls a helper application that handles those particluar types of files.  These helper applications process these files in a special way and generate more HTML which they send back to the web server, which, in turn, sends the HTML back to the client.  The combination of the web server and the helper applications (like CloudWriter) comprise a "web application server".

How is a web application server different from an application server?

Application servers in general operate in any kind of environment - like a mainframe server and smart terminal environment.  Web application servers in particular generate HTML for web browsers.

What is web application software?

Software that runs on a web application server (the platform).  So, CloudWriter scripts are web application software.  ASP programs are web application software.  Java Server Pages (programs compiled with a Java compiler that run on a server to send out web pages are instances of web application software.                                                    

Where can I get CloudWriter

You can download CloudWriter from this server.

How do I build CloudWriter?

Forget about building CloudWriter.  It comes ready-to-load for various operating systems.

How do I install CloudWriter?

Generally this involves:

Can I get source code for CloudWriter?

CloudWriter is not "open source".  However, a source license is available from us.

What operating systems are supported by CloudWriter?

CloudWriter currently operates in Windows 2000 and Windows XP Professional.  We expect to offer it also in Linux and Solaris versions..

What web servers work with CloudWriter?

Microsoft Internet Information Server now.  Apache soon.

What operating systems are supported by CloudWriter?

CloudWriter currently operates in Windows 2000.  We expect to offer it also in Linux and Solaris versions..

Can I access Microsoft SQL databases?

Yes.  Use the EDBC class which talks to the MS SQL ODBC driver.

Can I access Microsoft Access databases?

Yes.  Use the EDBC class which talks to the MS SQL Access driver.

Can I open a persistent database connection?

Yes.  The CloudWriter runtime maintains the connection if the KeepAlive() function is invoked.  This allows you to build up large transactions with complete Commit/Rollback capability.

Does CW have support for building online stores?

Yes.  There are several classes for things like shopping carts, credit card processing, and so forth.

Can I easily build an 'online marketplace' with CW?

Yes. CW has connections to several B2B services.  These are encapsulated in easy-to-use classes.

What kind of support does CW have for XML, including BizTalk and RosettaNet?

CW has XML parsers and generators built-in.  There are BizTalk and RosettaNet classes to facilitate communication with those services.

Wow!  Great!  It really sounds like CW will let me easily add dynamic features to my web site... I use XYZ as my web-hosting service... What do I need to do to get CW up and running?

If you are running your own web server, you simply install CW.  If your web services are being provided by an ISP, the ISP will have to install CW for you.  Generally ISP's will allow you to run CGI applications.  CW can operate as a CGI application.  Even better, some ISP's will allow you to run tightly-connected applications like ISAPI DLL's and Apache Extensions.  The best performance is available in this kind of configuration.

How much does CW cost?

CW is free when operated in a development environment.  That is, developers can download it from a website and run it for the purpose of developing web applications without paying any fees.  When you deploy the web applications in a real website, then you must pay the fee which is $499.  Considering that CW includes the relational database, ODBC, and lots of other things that you'd pay a "support" fee for in an "open source" environment, that's pretty cheap.


John Elkins ( 04 Aug 2002