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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