Webix in Practice: virtualization layer for the old hardware

The Webix team continues working on the library and its components. We are improving mostly due to the feedback of our customers. Today we talked to Ralf van Diesen (LinkedIn profile). He is the CEO of the Advanced Virtualization Technologies company. The company deals with the problem of old and obsolete hardware. They create a special virtual layer that allows existing software to run on the system without changing the hardware. The software designer of the company, Marie-France (LinkedIn profile), is also with us today. We are happy to know how Webix facilitates their job. 

interview with Johan Smith

Hello guys! We are glad you have found the time to talk to us. Please, tell us about your background and company a little.

Ralf: I’m a co-owner. Mostly, I make managing decisions. I’m not a developer. We produce software that virtualizes old computers. Those computers are 20-30 years old, but the applications running on top of them are very active. So, if the computer breaks down, the customers will be facing a problem. We’ve developed a software that replaces the old computer system so that the current software can be still maintained. We use Webix for the UI.

Marie-France: I am a software designer and a software engineer at AVT. Before my current company, I used to work on technical software by developing specific profiling and simulation tooling. The programming languages I used to work with were mostly C++ and Java. At AVT, next to the development of emulation software, I am also responsible for creating a user interface in the form of a web application. This was totally new for me and honestly quite a challenge at first. I had to learn a lot of JavaScript, XML, XSL and look for a UI library that would be easy to understand, easy to set up, and with a modern and clean look and feel.

How have you learned about Webix?

Ralf: We’ve been using Webix for 4-5 years. We looked for a simple UI tool, without any high level or fancy features. Webix was something we liked, and we are still happy with it. We can rely on the support. 

Marie-France: I was asking Google for some help in finding a nice and easy-to-use UI library, and Webix came up next to a few others of course. I did some trials, and I was charmed by how easy it was. The Webix website is very engaging and full of examples and tutorials. Though at that time it was the Webix UI Designer that made the difference for me, I don’t use it anymore. I have enough experience to write the code directly now, but it felt like a great safety net back then.

Which features are important for you in choosing a library?

Marie-France: A good library for me must be flexible. You must be able to tune it in form and color to your own company styling. Webix has a Skin Builder for this. It works nicely.

Where do you use Webix?

Marie-France: Webix is used in our web application. It is the user interface to our hypervisor and virtual machines. It has to look nice as it is an important selling point to our product. We do not use complex widgets, only the basic ones. I developed my own File-manager and User-manager for more flexibility.

Do you use any other libraries?

Ralf: No, only Webix.

Were there any difficulties with Webix?

Marie-France: It took me a while to understand how it works, which is probably for a great deal due to my lack of experience in JavaScript. The Webix support was just top, though. I got a fast response on any question. This was very much appreciated.

We are glad to know that! What would you like to improve in Webix?

Marie-France: I am by now very much used to it. It offers more widgets than I use. But I can remember one concern I had at the beginning. We worked a lot with XML, and although it is very easy to load an XML object into the UI, the other way around, downloading it to send it to the server was not trivial. I had to make some script to convert a JSON object extracted from the UI to XML. 

Thank you for the feedback and this interview. We wish you success in your project, and stay safe!

If your project also uses Webix and you want to share your experience with us, please, do not hesitate to contact us! We will get through as soon as possible.