ActiveGrid resurrected as WaveMaker

ActiveGrid is back, except it's no longer ActiveGrid and it makes a lot more sense to me.

I suppose "resurrected" is a bit harsh, since ActiveGrid never really died. More than anything else, ActiveGrid had a hard time explaining just what it was meant to do/be. I'm not very technical, so maybe it was just me, but I heard it explained as an application server and various other things. The true meaning never settled as an easy-to-explain elevator pitch for me.

Now ActiveGrid is back, but this time it's called WaveMaker and its mission is much clearer: help migrate noncompliant client/server applications to the Web. It also has a new CEO/management team, new technology, and a new market: Fortune 2000 developers.

This seems intuitively to be a Very Good Thing (applications are no longer resisting the Web's gravitational pull, and gravity always wins), but it becomes even more so when one considers some blog commentary from WaveMaker CEO Chris Keene:

It is hard to remember today--when all the development tools are code-based--that all the client/server development tools were visually based. Ten years ago, visual tools like PowerBuilder and Notes dominated the development world. Now, the programming world has shrunk to just two code-based tools--Eclipse and Microsoft Studio....

The explosion of widgets and services available on the Internet is driving a demand among business users for more useful business applications. As thing client applications get more visual, coding tools like Eclipse and Microsoft's misnamed Visual Studio are increasingly awkward.

To underline this point, a recent customer was able to rebuild an application in our visual tools using 98% less code than in .NET/Visual Studio. Note that it is important for visual tools to support coding for advanced services--we are not advocating code-free development, just code-lite development, particularly for visual Web applications.

I'm not a developer (IANAD :-), but I'm guessing the takeaway I'm supposed to get from this is that code lite equals faster/easier to manage? Assuming this is so, WaveMaker's accomplishment noted above is pretty significant.

Regardless, helping CIOs upgrade their applications for the Web world is bound to find an audience. My lingering question, however, is how much priority such projects get. I'm guessing green screen applications are still around because the bother/cost of upgrading them isn't hugely compelling...but I may be wrong.

Will WaveMaker make waves? We'll see. Second time may be the charm.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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