Grauw’s blog

As you perhaps already know from previous posts, I work at Backbase, and Amsterdam-based web technology company. Our product, also called Backbase, is a Javascript engine with which you can create more dynamic web pages, with form validation, animations, and a single page interface (that is, parts of the page can be dynamically loaded, so that the entire page doesn’t have to be reloaded just for small changes). Basically, everything that the recent Ajax fuss is about. But then made easy, using a declarative XML language, without having to worry about Javascript and browser incompatibilities.

Today, Backbase released version 3.0 of our product, including a community edition which you can download and use on your own website for free, as long as it is for non-commercial purposes.

I for one find it a great technology, with which you can achieve big results with very little effort. I am particularly happy about the fact that it is a very standards-oriented product; you use XHTML and CSS, mixed with our BXML tags. This is exactly why XHTML has the X from eXtensible in it. Another standard we use extensively is XPath, and there is also XSLT for dynamically transforming XML data. But even though BXML has much overlap with XForms, we do not use that. The reason for this is that XForms is designed with a native implementation in mind, and we cannot implement it very well in Javascript. But never mind that, BXML is just as good, if not better ^_^.

For a demonstration of what you can do with it, check out the demos tab on the website, or download the community edition and give it a spin!



Awesome by Ryan Brooks at 2005-06-06 18:33

Just heard about this myself, wanted to see what the backbase’ers were saying... I think I’m going to use it on my personal site to give it a real push.

Push push by leovee at 2005-06-15 00:30


As you know by now, I’m certainly looking into Backbase (the Community Edition, that is). It has a lot of nifty thingamedings and features, although some things are tough to handle. But I’ll get the hang of it, I guess. It looks promising and it’s certainly a dare, to try and rebuild my site with it. On the other hand, there are issues like browser-support, server- versus client-side issues etc., which should IMHO be subject to a more broader discussion, to get a better view on how developpers look at that kind of mind-set.

In the meantime words of appreciation are apropriate for the way the Backbase community reacts upon all kinds of problems and stupid starter-mistakes we tend to make. Chapeau!

Keep up the good works and we as developpers in turn will keep you posted on our experiences.

Leo Verhoeven

Like the idea, but cannot register by Martijn at 2005-06-20 22:52

I like the idea, but I cannot register on the website (using Firefox DeerPark Alpha). I know that it is an alpha-stadium browser, but if other sites work without problems I expect the same from this website. I see no errors inside the Javascript Console. I can fill in the form, but when I try to register the registration form becomes very narrow (just one line high) and just stays that way. I can close the registration window (using the X in the upper corner) and when I click on Register the state of the dialog is remembered (so it still shows as a too small window). When I reload the page I can try to register again (with just the same results). I hope you can solve this (or point out that my Firefox is just too new at this moment).

The Javascript Console also shows an typo in Backbase’s CSS-code. There is an IE-hack in there and it says “positiaon”. I guess that will also not work in IE.

Registration not working with other browsers too by Martijn at 2005-06-21 07:25

Hmm, registration for BackBase also does not seem to work with Firefox 1.0.4 or IE 6, so I guess there is some other problem...
All these browsers show consistent behaviour (like I described yesterdaY for FF DeerPark).

It certainly is alpha :) by Grauw at 2005-06-22 16:30

I know that it is an alpha-stadium browser, but if other sites work without problems I expect the same from this website.

Well... you’re quite wrong there. I am using the nightlies as well (Dutch translation :)) and it is certainly not release quality. Especially in areas which aren’t used that much by common websites (e.g. Javascript). A week or two ago, wouldn’t work at all in the nightlies for a while. Fortunately that has been solved now, although I do not know by which bug. There’s also a problem with the back button, for which I have submitted a patch in Mozilla’s bugzilla but it still has to be reviewed and committed.

But thanks for reporting the issue. I have forwarded it to Jep, he will look into it.

Registration problem solved by Jep Castelein - Backbase at 2005-06-22 17:00

The registration problem on the Backbase site is solved. A corrupt database was the problem. The site should work with Deer Park Alpha though (although back-forward button might not work).

Hurray! by Grauw at 2005-07-15 00:12

And more good news: Mozilla’s back-button bug is also resolved.

Bxml websites by Jordan Lewis at 2006-07-29 23:05

I understand you can use the Backbase engine to write rich web applications. I was wondering if you could make a whole website using the Bxml technology. For example could a website like Myspace be written in Bxml and would it turn out much better than using the same old techniques like Php. To use Bxml do you have purchase the Backbase engine. Also when you purchase that to start writing and deploying your websites and web applications do you have to install the engine on a web server. Or can it be installed on a plain old desktop PC? If you have the answer to these questions can you e-mail me back at or at

Re: Bxml websites by Grauw at 2006-08-03 10:23

Hi Jordan,

Yes, of course you can improve the functionality of websites with Backbase. That’s what the product is for, after all :). However, the key to make something really good is always to have some innovative ideas which are really an improvement to the user. AJAX technology is only a tool, and by itself does not guarantee a better user experience. In the contrary, when done badly it can make things worse.

For further questions and personal contact, please send a mail to the Backbase sales team, you can find the email address on the Backbase website.

Problem with form submission of backbase on IE6 by Chitro Neogy at 2006-09-24 18:21

When submitting a regular cgi url form within backbase, it seems to at least do the call on Firefox but in IE, there is not response, the Send button remains blank. Any possible reasons?


Chitro Neogy