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Codeless development?

TenFold, a company which claims to have radically productive development tools, signed a $1 million deal with hosted application provider DevonWay, a start-up focusing on the utilities industry.

The story of TenFold, detailed here in April by ZDNet's Dan Farber, is an odd one: the company was a services firm whose stock soared to great heights in late 1990s tech boom. It crashed and has since retrenched and changed its business around its EnterpriseTenFold development suite.

Founder Jeffrey Walker, the former CFO of Oracle and founder of services firm Walker Interactive, claims that the company's technology allows people to build applications without writing code, that is,, the way people have written applications for decades.

Other upstart companies, such as SkyWay Software, also say they do codeless development and, indeed, some customers will agree. Heavyweights like IBM, too, say they allow codeless development with its sophisticated modeling tools.

But Walker and TenFold executives say that their technology is not based on clever code generation. Instead, developers essentially "configure" an application by setting parameters. Still, skepticism runs deep regarding claims of codeless application development.

Even in TenFold's recent earnings release (where the company posted a net loss of $1.4 million), company president and CEO Dr. Nancy Harvey said: "It's never easy to start a revolution, especially when you are selling against massive marketing and forty years of believing that programming is the only way to build an application."