Product Reviews

CodeCharge Studio 1.0.6

Some products are targeted very narrowly, and as a result they need to fill their niche very well. CodeCharge Studio is such a product. Its entire purpose is to produce database-backed web pages. It offers a good deal of flexibility in this area: PHP, ASP, ASP.NET, Cold Fusion, and Perl are all supported as languages. You can also connect to just about any database you choose and select precisely the data that you want to retrieve.

At the heart of CodeCharge Studio are an Application Builder and a series of more focused builders that generate the code. It's easy to identify a database table and display its contents in a grid format, or as individual records. Searching and sorting is also well supported. The CodeCharge editor offers a variety of views including code, HTML, and a visual designer that seems reasonably flexible.

The code is well-structured and uses naming conventions and comments to make its purpose obvious. That's good, because database-backed applications tend to require a lot of code. You can create both server and client side event code, and CodeCharge will keep it all sorted out and attached to the right places.

Although it works as advertised, there are a couple of areas where CodeCharge Studio could stand some improvement. First, the application builder, while it can quickly create an application that uses multiple tables and displays each on a different page, doesn't have any understanding of the "relational" part of relational data. For example, if you build pages to display customers and orders, you can jump from one to the other, but there's no way to click on a customer and see all the orders for that customer. I'm surprised that such a common requirement isn't encapsulated in a wizard. Yes, you can write code to accomplish this task, but judging by the YesSoftware discussion boards master-detail forms are a common stumbling block.

The second problem here is the documentation. Although the software comes with a help file and there are online examples and a user community, it's difficult to see how all of the pieces fit together. This is a complex product that could really use a tutorial or two to walk users through common scenarios.

Despite these failings, if database-backed web pages are a core part of your job, it's worth having a look at the product. You can download a 20-day free trial from the YesSoftware web site if you'd like to investigate for yourself. I suspect that daily use would turn this into a powerful way to churn out sites quickly.

[This review originally appeared in

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.

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Reader Comments:

Thu, Jul 7, 2011 John Real Los Angeles, California

CodeCharge Studio is an outstanding tool. I have been in the Software Industry for almost 30 years and have never seen or used a tool that allows me to do as much as I can with this Framework. I agree that documentation is sparse and CodeCharge has a very HIGH learning curve. But once you get by that.. You will be able to do things with ease and not EVER need to worry about all the mundane tasks require to code using any other method. You will be able to focus on your application details instead. The code it creates is solid and largely bullet proof. It can be used by inexperienced programmers easily as well. But if you want to get the power out of CodeCharge Studio you need to be a Skilled, Experienced, & Creative Programmer. Anyone calling CodeCharge Studio rubish or other things just does not want to put the time in to learn programming or learn this framework. I have build dozens of high powered sites using CodeCharge and it has made development incredibly fast. Also it creates MVC framework type code using OOPs technology. 10 Stars for CodeCharge Studio Have fun John

Fri, Jun 24, 2011 Houston, Tx

I think this product beats writing code by hand any day but I'm no DB or CSS or Adobe products expert and I'm open to the idea that there is better RAD out there. Is there a comparison table somewhere that compares several leading RAD products by function/feature? Can an experienced web programmer articulate the limits of this software?

Thu, Apr 14, 2011 Tony UK

We are designers not a coders. CCS is great for us. We get things done quickly and cheaply and I have full control of the development. If you know how to code, code! don't buy a RAD.

Thu, Mar 3, 2011 ninja coder

I have it and regreted buying it. It's an overpriced piece of junk.

Mon, Feb 28, 2011

Codecharge creates code that is impossible to read, impossible to maintain outside the application, requires special software to edit which ties your developers to a specific environment, creates mountains of unnecessary code which slows server execution, makes fixing problems on a website impossible without the source files, and doesn't foster professional growth through the learning of standardized coding practices.

Tue, Nov 16, 2010 Ninja

Been using it for a year... Rubbish/Cheap/Buggy. Don't waste your money.

Mon, Sep 27, 2010 someguy DC, USA

I've had no issue with it at all, other than the lack of learning resouces. However it works great for us. Cuts out about a day or so on every screen we need to create, saving mega bucks.

Sat, Feb 6, 2010 Robert

Their IDE is unusably slow. The generated code is too inefficient to be useable in other than trivial Hello World projects.

Tue, Dec 22, 2009 DONT BUY THIS JUNK!

Horrible!!!!! Lack of support and documentantion. If you like to develop in the dark, go for it! Lame layouts. FULL OF BUGS!!! Have to restart the IDE several times while building simple pages. I mean a software from 2001 that is still on version 4 and with all these bugs? And the price???? $200! Why would someone opt for this garbage when they have Dreamweaver and others available? OH! OH! THE MOST IMPORTANT PART: Don't ever, ever (EVER!), touch the code generated by CCharge outside CCharge IDE... It will damage it and CCharge won't be able to reopen it anymore. You will be a slave of a system of nightmare, with single files containing more than 3000 lines of incomprehensible code all tangled up with other dozens of files in the same way.

Thu, Sep 4, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous

I like turtles.

Thu, Nov 30, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

Version 3, 2 or 1 documents are useless to the tad. Haven't learn anything useful from the IDE. It's easier to learn the language of your choice and hand code from the amount of time wasted to learn just how to drive the ide.

Wed, Nov 29, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

lacks documentation and support. the newest is 3.0 and they want you to pay to get a question answered

Mon, Mar 20, 2006 Jim Beamish

I believe that this software is eggs.

Sat, Mar 18, 2006 Larry Sweden

CC3 produces very pretty event-driven web sites and can output in any popular web language at the touch of a buttin. That alone is worth the price.

It's actually perfect perfect for making CRUDs (backends web apps) and very simple front end web apps but for anything more complex it may be easier to code by hand. Learning the interface is as difficult as learning any framework I've used and can be frustrating. For isntance, sometimes it's easier to start an entire project over then to make a simple change... but the more you play with it the more you will like it.

There is a popular myth which I agree with that states visual environments should be made with visual tools. If you agree with that statement than CodeCharge is for you.

Thu, Aug 18, 2005 Diego Argentina

Seems you´re not experienced in ccs. I wouldn´t write a review about a tool like this without a minimun knowledge. Not if i don´t want to look ridiculous.

Wed, Oct 1, 2003 Anubis Systems Australia

It is an excellent product, the user forums are very active with both questions and results. The staff of CodeCharge are helpful and quick with their replies.

Its a excellent way to get over the usual hurdle of creating the DB access and diosplay code so that one can concerntrate on the business rules of the organisation.

Sat, Aug 2, 2003 Job Faifax

This product is definitely the best I've seen after working with Cool:Gen-Composer-IEF for many years. If I would have an option to buy stocks for this company I sure would.

It's not a wonder tool, meaning that you still need to think for yourself about a good system design and therefor I think a broad and extensive expience in IT-design is still a must (I always say: a fool with a tool is still a fool). But the boring routineous coding steps are reduced with about 80%.

My company has developped some routines that make master-details pages in code-charge studio a breeze.

Furthermore I am amazed at its price. For (just!) 279 a year you get such termendous time gaines. That's almost TWO billable hours of money I would charge a customer! And it saves met at least 50 percent of time (most of my projects are fixed price so you can probably guess what that does with your profit rate!).

And I can even interface with com components if I want therefor opening the door to almoste every peace of middlware I want. That means professional grade IT back end systems.

I hope they market it wll.

Wed, May 21, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

rubbish

Tue, Apr 22, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

This product is useless since the documentation, such as third parties' book, writing, tutorial etc, is not available. My experience of their support is bad, and you can have a look at their support forum, most of the questions remain unanswered or answer is not relevant or not good.

Mon, Feb 17, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

I like it, for the price and dabatabase search. Fast to build application

Wed, Jan 29, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

The intention was to build web application fast without or some coding of the languages of your choice.

The IDE is hard to use and finding information is hard.

Codecharge site update is ultra old, the application release is out of date.

Code Charge Studio really need better documentation, reference guide or something.

But overall the software is good.

Tue, Nov 5, 2002 Ali Aydın Turkey

Excellent program
I made big projects this program

Thu, Oct 24, 2002 Vince P. USA

Great product.. Mike Gunderloy does *NOT* know what he's talking about in this review. CodeCharge has no problem with the "relational part"; Mike just didn't bother to read the manual and make a real effort. I will agree that the product is complex and that the documentation isn't always going to answer your questions right away, but the product is still clearly superior to hand developing 2 tier web/intranet applications.

On that note, the only real deficiency of CodeCharge that I found with extensive usage, is that it's not real helpful or flexible in assisting you with complex business rules and processes. That is, if your screens have to do a ton of work in the database across many tables for a given page, then CodeCharge may help you get the page started, but it won't carry you through the page's whole development lifecycle. You can just modify the generated code directly once a page is started, but then you lose out on the 4GL’ish aspects of CodeCharge (not that they claim to be a 4GL, that’s my take).

I'm not a sales person, just a satisfied customer. I hope this helps…

Mon, Oct 14, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

Excellent!

Wed, Oct 2, 2002 Anonymous Anonymous

EXCELLENT PRODUCT. RECOMMENDED!

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