How about a “Personal Cloud”?

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Mike Gualtieri recently posted “Cloudmania: Developers Need A Personal Cloud”, which I find very pertinent and descriptive of developer’s views. I must say that  I do not know professional developers who entertain the idea of their development baby being hooked with an umbilical cord to another mother (such as a hosted PaaS). But they certainly want the ability to test it whenever they want in the target environment.

One thing that probably contributes to the confusion is the almost non-existent distinction between situational applications and core applications. Mike evoked in the past the emergence of “enlightened developers”, who produce situational apps with highly abstracting Platform as a Service environments. But what he is discussing here are not those type of apps and developers but the more professional breed, that develops Enterprise Applications.

I am still perplex at the reasons that made the Application Development community regress from the productive 4GL platforms that emerged in the early 90’s back to 3GL environments such as C and Java. The increasing technical complexity of the Cloud finally halted this and is a fertile ground for the revival and emergence of Metadata Driven Application Platforms, which abstract the technical constraints by pre-programming optimized engines, which feed on Metadata based business logic. And we have to distinguish here very clearly between platforms designed for situational applications, with coarse grained widgets and services, and platforms designed for enterprise applications, that offer the entire granularity spectrum from application and process templates down to embedding code snippets.

Salesforce.com showed the way with Force.com, but it is still Cloud only and pretty much tied to the basic CRM environment. uniPaaS from Magic Software is leveraging its past 4GL experience to provide probably the first Application Platform that corresponds to what you describe as “a Personal Cloud that would allow them to configure their local environment in multiple way and take it with them wherever they go”. My recent interactions at industry events such as RIA World and with many enterprises and ISV’s confirm the growing interest and adoption of these platforms. That’s good news for us all.

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5 responses to “How about a “Personal Cloud”?

  1. I lead a team building an application in the Force.com cloud that is completely independent of the CRM system. There are areas that are reminiscient and some CRM functionality that I wish existed with the dev platform, but they are still quite young in that area. In terms of needing a personal cloud you are afforded that opportunity with Force.com, although the cloud will not be local to you machine. In my opinion we’re almost constantly connected to the internet so is there really a need for a purely local dev environment.

    To this end though Google’s App Engine has created an eclipse plugin that let’s you develop in a ‘local cloud’ and later deploy to their servers, although I see little benefit in this. The GAE does have some interesting bits and bobs I find lacking in Force.com though and I’d put my money on it as a strong contender in this emerging tech.

    • avigdorluttinger

      Thanks for your contribution, Wes. Could you share with us a bit more on the scope and purpose of you Force.com application?

  2. It would be my pleasure:)

    The application is a packageable HRM solution aimed at the SME market. It will cover all areas of HRM although the first module to be released will cover recruitment.

    The application itself uses most of the Force.com functionality using everything except the web services API e.g. Apex, VisualForce, AJAX and all the bits that go along with them. We also make use of web service calls out from the application and incorporate a number of AJAX APIs.

    Traditionally I’ve been a Java developer but this project has opened my eyes to what will surely be the next generation of application development.

  3. I’ve had an unofficial sneak peak but from what I hear it’ll be quite some time (at least 12 months) until we get to see anything. That said it looked very nice, much better than the window 95 look they have now.

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