Resently We have conducted a research on the comparison between two main stream enterprise Ajax Toolkits available in the market, which is Backbase and Tibco General Interface. Following is a table listing the differences and similaries between them. Hope it can be helpful for those who are deciding which one to use for RIA development:


Comparing Points



1. user interface

Uses widgets in xhtml pages,

Tag Library, provides declarative XEL and Javascript for coding logic.

Supports all common elements in a page like tab,table, form etc.

Browser-independent for PC.

Uses Component libraries and Javascript API, provides only javascript for coding logic .

Supports all common elements in a page like tab,table, form etc.


Browser-independent for PC.

2. Co-exist with other Ajax toolkit

Can co-exist very well with other Toolkit, uses the escape tags to separate backbase tag and html tag, also can reduce overhead if you need to put some raw HTML inside backabase tag.

Not very well, everything that you have designed in it’s own IDE will be saved into an intermediate XML format which will be transformed into final result html before browser renders it. That means you can’t make sure that the result html is exactly what you want.

3. Coding style  

It is more concise and brief, use TDL tag language to simplify the development, which offers a chance to use declarative XML for coding.

Based on XHTML, XPath, Dom, CSS, SMil standards, powerful

Build-in Javascript editor which is not mature.

Encapsulates some of the HTML and dom, CSS, easy and friendly for starters. Does not have complete support for SMIL.

4. JSON support


Does not support

5. Control the behavior of widgets in page

Uses ‘behavior’ attribute of the tag to add/remove the Drag and Drop and Resize behaviors to widgets. Support dynamically changing the behavior by changing the attribute.  Also the behavior can be defined in custom namespace.

Sets it in IDE environment statically, does not support dynamically changing the behavior.

But it supports the dynamic properties that can be set in runtime. Those dynamic properties can be the properties of each on screen widget like button, list, block etc.

6.Application Loading

Can customize the loading message when application starts up

Can’t customize, a big ‘Tibco’ logo will be displayed

7.Object oriented

Supports OO by TDL widgets definition, can have interface/class like inheritance and useful for dynamically creating the user interface in an OO way.

It has more power to customize your elements in the page.

Supports OO by javascript API to define classes and interfaces. It has clear separation between view and logic.

8. Documentation

Has good documentation but some points in the document are not deep and clear enough, and sometimes there are spelling mistakes. Not easy to search.

I will give it 80 points on this.

Has really good documentation and everything is clear, well organized and easy to search. Does not have spelling mistakes. The content of help is stored in XML format and cross reference is good.

I will give it 90 points on this.

9.Web service support

Supports web service call in different ways, encapsulates the XMLHttpRequest object in a browser-independent manner

Supports web service call in javascript API, and also provides a XML mapper to facilitate the development process 

10. message displaying

BB supports loading message out-of-box, which is used to show loading/error messages to user

Need to do it by yourself.

Build the window/dialog/block and call the show()/hide() method



Does not support.

But it can be done by setting the CSS styles dynamically

12. Locale and internationalization

Does not provide the i18n out-of-box

But we can code the front-end alert message

to be sent out from Javascript, then it should be the same for Tibco and Backbase.

Supports i18n out-of-box


Supports paging out-of-box, just add it to any list or table as a child Tag.

Not support, need to do it yourself.


14. support

Community support. Have many real business demos.

Open-source and community support.

15. IDE

Based on Eclipse, use xhtml standards for building html page. Not mature enough.


Has an in-house debugger tool based on firebox.

Based on Tibco Core javascript API, and it’s an in-house IDE environment, like a Rapid Application Development tool, powerful and everything can be done within it, but not mature enough either.


Has a debugger inside IDE.

16. Server side integration

Provides good supports for integration with server side technologies, like Spring, JSF, Struts , PHP and data service

Not so well, only has integration with DWR officially  

17. History and Bookmark


 Does not support.

 Can be done by storing information into the URL and retrieve it

18. License

Free community edition for 2-CPU per a company

GPL open-source license

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