Developing applications based on SQL Server 2005 can be a time-consuming process, particularly if the needs of your organization are unique and can't be solved by using stand-alone applications or utilities. A lack of internal resources can contribute to the challenge, while limited budgets can constrain what external resources are available.

Newcomer DataKraft hopes to address that development dilemma with their DataKraft Studio (DS) development platform. Compared to traditional database development methods, DS uses a graphically-based configuration platform that DataKraft claims will allow developers to create, test, and deploy database solutions without coding and with simplified testing. DS works with most existing database platforms, including SQL Server, IBM DB2, Oracle, My SQL, and Microsoft Access.

"A key feature of DS is the ability to dynamically generate the presentation layer of the application based on the structure of the database," explains DataKraft Business Development Manager Carol McKeon. "Developers do this by designing the data model, and DS draws from that to create the interface the end-user uses to view, drill-down, navigate and manipulate the data. We dynamically generate all the forms and all navigation automatically."

In order to make the resulting custom application more readily usable, DS leverages the familiarity users have with Microsoft Office applications by also incorporating interface elements that are similar to those applications. "We know that users rely heavily on Microsoft Office and Microsoft Outlook in their office environments," says McKeon. "This allows users to feel more comfortable using the software, reduces training costs and increases adoption rates."

While DS can be used by DBAs to create custom database applications for internal use at their own organizations, McKeon points to other target partners than have also had success with their solution. “We are actively recruiting partners that can use our DS platform to really make a difference to their bottom line. IT Services companies can use the platform to build custom business applications for their customers 20 times faster than traditional coding methods," says McKeon. "Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) can use our platform to get new niche verticals to market in a matter of weeks, seizing market opportunities without being constrained by development costs. These companies could previously only increase sales if they correspondingly increased their development teams."

According to McKeon, DataKraft is in talks with Microsoft in the UK to develop a program that helps ISVs move their databases from Microsoft Access to SQL server, using DS to facilitate the migration. McKeon indicated that they've started working with North American customers directly and are planning to open an American office soon.

Pricing is roughly $6000 for the DS platform application, and about $500 per desktop. For additional information, email info@datakraft.net or visit the DataKraft Web site at http://www.datakraft.com.