Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Special offer for Visual Ajax Members from Partner The Ajaxian's The Ajax Experience returns to Boston, September 14-16. The Ajax Experience (TAE) is the industry's premier conference for developers who seek to learn more about Ajax and advancements in rich Web development. Don’t miss 40+ experts present sessions on the future of Ajax and Web applications, including tracks devoted to frameworks, JavaScript, architecture, user experience, performance and scalability, cutting-edge Ajax and cross-browser issues.


We’ve partnered up with Ajaxian to save VisualAjax members an extra $100 off the registration fee! Simply register here with the code VISUALAJAX. Plus, register before July 31st to lock in $300 early bird savings.

Want to register, but can't make the July 31 deadline? Contact Tracie Berardi ( and she'll reserve a spot for you at this great rate.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Opening Up Platform as a Service

Platform as a Service (PaaS) offers a way to build and deploy applications entirely in the cloud. This market was pioneered by SalesForce and their PaaS offering.

PaaS offers the potential to democratize web development by enabling anyone who can use a browser to assemble and extend web-based applications. Yet early PaaS players, including, Bungee Labs, Google AppEngine and Microsoft's Azure, have introduced PaaS solutions that are remarkably proprietary.

A proprietary PaaS solution introduces high switching costs to move data or logic from one PaaS provider to another. For example, moving an application from the recently deceased Coghead to AppEngine would require a wholesale rewrite of an application written on one proprietary framework to another.

In short, customers adopting PaaS gain access to powerful new technical capabilities but at the cost of stepping back to the proprietary business models of 20 years ago. Surely the same market forces that have driven greater transparency in the enterprise software world will also prevail in the brave new world of cloud computing!

In talking with customers and analysts, WaveMaker has introduced the term Open PaaS to describe what the next generation of cloud development tools should look like. In our definition, Open PaaS solutions have four characteristics:
  1. Portable - customers must be able to run applications built using PaaS tools on multiple cloud offerings. PaaS offerings based on proprietary languages (e.g., SalesForce, Bungee, Coghead) lock customers into a single cloud provider.
  2. Based on open standards - customers must be able to leverage existing skills such as Java and Javascript to build applications using a PaaS tool. Offerings that are based on proprietary software stacks (e.g., Google AppEngine, Microsoft Azure) lock customers into a single cloud infrastructure.
  3. Available as open source - customers must be able to run applications created with PaaS in their own data center in an open source environment . SugarCRM pioneered the attractive concept of letting the customer "take their ball and go home." For PaaS vendors, it is even more important that customers be able to move a cloud app from the cloud to behind their firewall.
  4. Mobile-aware - increasingly, web enablement reaches beyond the desktop browser to smartphones from companies like Apple, RIM and Palm. Customers need PaaS tools that can deliver device-appropriate content and functionality. Effectively, this is an update of the old Java "write once run anywhere" mantra.
As the cloud evolves, it is inevitable that customers will demand more flexibility. With that in mind, WaveMaker recently became a supporter of the Open Cloud Manifesto, a very timely effort spearheaded by Reuven Cohen, CTO of Enomaly.

You can read the Open Cloud Manifesto here, but here is my take on the 6 principles of the Open Cloud Manifesto (the bold titles and italic comments are mine):
  1. Commit to cloud interoperability: Cloud providers should collaborate to solve standard problems (e.g., security, interoperability) in a standard way. At a minimum, this requires publishing the APIs needed to build interoperable security and other services across cloud providers.
  2. Eschew vendor lockin: Cloud providers must not use their market position to lock customers into their particular platforms. This goes to the heart of the problem. If you are at the head of the pack, why slow down and let others catch you? The answer can only be because doing so gives you access to a much bigger market, of which you are still at the head of the pack but with a smaller lead!
  3. Adopt existing standards aggressively: Cloud providers must use and adopt existing standards wherever appropriate. This will be much easier for new cloud vendors, who are starting from scratch, than existing cloud vendors, who built out their infrastructure before many of these standards existed.
  4. Minimize proliferation of new standards: When new standards are needed, Cloud vendors must be judicious to avoid creating too many standards. We must ensure that standards promote innovation and do not inhibit it. This shows great wisdom in the ways of the world. What are most standards bodies anyway but the effect to gain or preserve market share by non-market driven means?
  5. Focus new standards on actual customer needs: Any community effort around the open cloud should be driven by customer needs. This is another swipe at the self-serving approaches of many standards bodies. From a cynical perspective, we will know cloud computing is successful when its standards bodies become just as opaque and non-customer focused as other entrenched standards like Java ;-)
  6. Cooperate between standards groups: Cloud computing standards organizations, advocacy groups, and communities should work together and stay coordinated, making sure that efforts do not conflict or overlap. This is well-intentioned, but also seems to be saying "thou shalt have no cloud advocacy groups before me" (shouldn't that be commandment I?)
Just like that large collection of tubes called the Internet, this notion of Open Cloud and Open Platforms is here to stay!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Cloud Is Angry and Other Lessons From Gartner

I attended the Gartner Application Development Conference this week and drank from the proverbial firehouse as Gartner analysts presented their vision for cloud computing

Anthony Bradley, the Web 2.0 analyst for Gartner, beat the drum for front end tools (mashup builders) to complement back end SOA systems. His take was "mashups take the benefits of SOA and make them visible to users - mashups are the face of SOA."

Mark Driver, the open source software analyst for Gartner, said that cloud computing is early in its maturity cycle. He said, "if the cloud were a child, it would be an angry two year old. The challenge for the industry now is how to make it through the terrible twos."

Mark also pointed out some big benefits for IT with cloud computing. "The cloud enables rapid application maintenance - iterating application functionality on a daily basis." The apps can change as quickly as the business situation changes, making IT much more of a real partner in business change rather than an impediment to business change.

Mark introduced the idea of a cloud development platform or platform as a service (PaaS), noting that in PaaS, the developer should never encounter the concept of a server. Instead, the platform abstracts all deployment complexity from the developer, making it ideal for business unit developers who don't have deployment resources readily at hand.

According to Gartner, the important criteria for a cloud development platform include:
  • Interoperability: how well does the platform integrate with other web assets like open id and google maps?
  • Collaboration: how well does the platform support source code control and social programming (Facebook meets SVN)
  • RIA & mobile clients: cross browser and cross smart-phone support. According to Mark, reach wins over richness - supporting more browsers is more important than supporting more widgets.
  • Legacy: ability to integrate with enterprise data, security and web services
  • Performance: ability to scale significantly with no additional effort/programming
  • Longevity: the market momentum of the platform vendor - will they be around in 3 years? The winner will be less about the raw technology and more about the quality of partners and customers the vendor has attracted.
This is a particularly interesting list for us at WaveMaker, as we just released the WaveMaker cloud development platform that does quite well against Gartner's list. In particular, WaveMaker scores highly interoperability, both of component and of applications. WaveMaker is the first cloud development platform to offer portability between the cloud and the data center.

Gartner believes that the market for cloud development tools is very similar to the 4GL market of the early 90s. They see many innovative vendors today offering unique/proprietary solutions, thinning out over the next three years to a handful of winners. Naturally we are doing everything we can to make sure that WaveMaker is one of those winners!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Learn About Ext From The Master - Hands On Ext, Oct 16 @ 12PST

The next Visual Ajax User Group Meeting is entitled "Hands-On Ext" featuring Aaron Conran, Senior Software Architect and Ext Services Team Leader. Hands-On Ext is a fast-paced session in which we will explore how to build an Ext application in less than an hour. This session demonstrates how to get started using Ext JS and how quickly you can put together a simple application from scratch. Learn how to utilize Ext's high-level UI widgets like GridPanel, TabPanel and FormPanel instead of re-inventing the wheel. REGISTER HERE

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Kevin Hakman Presenting today, 9/18 at 12PST

Kevin Hakman, Director of Product Marketing, Aptana, will be presenting at the monthly Visual Ajax user group meeting on The End-to-End Open Web: Combining Cloud Computing and Open Source App Engines. Aptana has been a leader in making serious JavaScript development possible both on the client and on the server with their Jaxer product. This should be a great session!

If you want to join via webinar or in person, please send an email to:

As always, a write-up of the presentation will be available on afterwards.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ajax Experience Conference in Boston 9/29 - 10/1

The Ajax Experience (TAE) will be in Boston, Massachusetts from September 29 - October 1. The conference agenda includes 40+ breakout sessions, keynotes, tutorials, tech demos, lightening rounds and excellent networking opportunities. TAE was created by in 2006 as the ultimate learning destination for Ajax/RIA developers.

  • Evaluate open source and vendor solutions in an unbiased community environment
  • Dive deep into frameworks and testing tools that make development easier
  • Get developers and designers working together and producing useable ideas
  • Balance Web 2.0 design and features with the need for speed and scalability
  • See how to make JSON, Mashups and SOA work for you
  • Make the case for Ajax and RIAs in your enterprise

View the conference agenda at-a-glance here. As a member of, use the code 'VisualAjax' to save an extra $100 off the registration fee. Reserve your spot by clicking here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

WaveMaker in Top 10 Apple Downloads

WaveMaker was selected as a Staff Pick for the Apple download site, and broke into the top 10 Apple downloads today, edging out Google Earth for the tenth slot!

WaveMaker 4 features a Mac installer and the WaveMaker Ajax Studio runs best in the Safari browser (of course, to be fair, almost everything that runs in a browser runs best in Safari). 

WaveMaker's visual studio lowers the learning curve for building Ajax apps and greatly increases productivity over traditional hand-coded Javascript web clients.

WaveMaker uses a Model-View-Controller approach to building Ajax web applications, making it an ideal tool for developers who are familiar with Apple's xCode development tools (or any other visual development tool for that matter).

WaveMaker was also written up on the MacNN web site as a one stop shop for developing web applications. MacNN also particularly taken by how WaveMaker democratizes the development of web applications:
The folks at WaveMaker think big, calling their Visual Ajax Studio 4.0 web app development tool "a fundamental breakthrough" -- and they may just be right. In a demonstration for MacNN it took about three minutes to build a simple database web app -- something that traditionally takes a team of developers to manage the complex weaving of web and server functions. This could be especially good news for the growing number of Mac Developers, since WaveMaker is browser-based.