Architectural Overview

1. Summary

Dataphor is an application development platform designed to streamline the process of designing, developing, and maintaining software applications. In order to realize these goals, the architecture of the Dataphor product is segmented into three main layers: the Physical Layer, the Logical Layer, and the Presentation Layer. Each layer is responsible for a specific set of functionality within the overall product. The Physical Layer is responsible for managing the persistent data of the applications. The Presentation Layer is responsible for managing the interaction with users of the applications. The Logical Layer is responsible for providing the actual descriptions of the applications.

The following diagram depicts these layers:

Dataphor Logo

This diagram shows the components of the Dataphor architecture, and the interactions between them. At the center of the architecture is the Dataphor Data Access Engine (DAE), or Dataphor Server. The Dataphor Server exposes application schemas that are consumed by Windows-based, Web-based and other clients, and manages the coordination of the presentation layer data retrieval and manipulation requests with the various storage devices in the physical layer.

The concrete components of the Dataphor product are then:

Dataphor Server

The Dataphor Application platform which exposes the capabilities and services required to develop and run Dataphor Applications.

Frontend Server

A library of routines and services deployed within a Dataphor Server enabling the presentation layer of a Dataphor Application.


An Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for developing, testing, and administering Dataphor Applications.

Frontend Clients

A set of "thin-client" software components that manage the presentation layer for their respective platforms. The Dataphor product ships with a Microsoft Windows-based client, and a Web client. Additional clients can be developed as necessary.

These components together provide the services and functionality required by the Dataphor platform to enable the declarative approach. The resulting paradigm is called Automated Application Development (AAD). Each of these components are introduced in the following sections. Complete information on using each component is then provided in the subsequent chapters of this manual.

The Dataphor product is built using the Microsoft .NET Framework. The .NET Framework provides a component library, a set of compilers, and an execution runtime. The Dataphor platform can be altered and extended using capabilities of the .NET Framework such as dynamic class loading.

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