A picture is worth a thousand words
As I have spent a good bit of the last 3 years in developing Aspire/J2EE, my discussions involuntarily drift towards floating this name. Foes ignore and friends, out of pure courtesy mainly I suspect, ask me what is Aspire/J2EE. I start, real fast (before they have a chance to retreat), and explain that it is a RAD tool for Java and J2EE ingeneral and you can do real cool things with it. And I point them to AKC and tell them how wonderful it is and how I even use it to teach my kinder garten daughter (perhaps an unsuspecting child, what does she know anyway). But as you, the observant reader might have rightly guessed, I am usually accosted with a broad grin that seem to say "sure". So I have decided to draw a picture.
I was talking about Aspire recently at University of North Florida and presented them with this picture. My goal was to tell them that if they understood this picture they have basically understood 70% of the motivation and inner workings of Aspire.
Developing applications in Aspire is largely a simple effort of arriving at a hierarchical data set using declarative data definitions. This hierarchical data set can be transformed using a variety of tools and techniques. The declarative definitions are conceptually straight forward but architecturally very sophisticated and allows a great deal of flexibility. For instance the hierarchical data set can be seen as a set of XML nodes. The data definition to produce that XML is essentially tieing a data source for each node. When these declarative nodes get executed you end up with the hierarchical data set.
Here are a couple of more urls if you happen to stick around this far