Simon’s Backup Weblog


Pimp my words: Recent pieces for El Dev Reg.

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on July 4, 2007

Time to enjoy a little time travel, as I pop back a few weeks and detail some recent pieces written for that most estimable of green tops, the Developer Register.

Up this morning, is my fairly hefty review of Google’s Mashup Editor and its GME web programming language:

Software as a Service (SaaS) is one of this year’s biggest trends. It’s one that’s also moving away from simple applications to whole hosted development platforms.

Google’s Mashup Editor is the latest online development platform to appear. Like Microsoft’s Popfly and Yahoo!’s Pipes before it, it’s a tool for building hosted JavaScript applications. Unlike Popfly and Pipes, however, it’s much more of a barebones solution, leaving the graphical front-ends firmly at the door.

Launched at Google’s recent Developer Day, it’s taken a while for the beta test invites to make their way outside the Googleplex. That’s probably a good thing, as the service isn’t just a development tool for mashups – it’s also the showcase for Google’s own XML-based declarative web programming language (fully compliant with all the latest Web 2.0 buzzwords), along with a hosting platform that takes advantage of the Google Base APIs to give you a place to store and manage data. Applications are published on the googlemashups.com domain – so you’ll need to use iframes or similar techniques to embed them in your sites and services.

Then, from our recent US foray, a piece from Microsoft’s TechEd on Visual Studio’s new Eclipse-like openness:

Pop along to Sourceforge and you’ll find many different programmers’ editors, many of which have been abandoned long before they’re ready for use. There’s not really any point developing an editor, when toolkits like Scite exist. The same is true of IDEs, when there’s the extensible Eclipse IDE to use. As a result it’s been gaining more and more market- and mindshare with development tools vendors around the world.

Despite its many excellent features, Microsoft’s Visual Studio was starting to look a little left behind. The Visual Studio Integration Programme (VSIP) let developer tool vendors add features and functions to Visual Studio, but it wasn’t open to the whole community and included royalty payments to Microsoft.

Redmond is aiming to change the game with the upcoming release of Visual Studio 2008, and the introduction of a new programme – the Visual Studio Shell – announced at Microsoft’s TechEd 2007 event in Orlando. This will make the key editing and design tools available to anyone who wants to use them, opening up the old Premier Partner Edition to the whole world. With over 8 million Visual Studio developers, that’s a hefty market of coders who will already be well along the learning curve before they even start to use your tools.

A week or so earlier I was in a hotel conference room in Santa Clara, listening to Salesforce.com deny rumours of its tie-up with Google, as it announced its SOA strategy:

The elephant in the room was one of the presenters at Salesforce.com’s one day developer conference in Silicon Valley yesterday.

With rumours of an upcoming Google partnership sparking financial news, the company’s CEO Marc Benioff joked that he wasn’t going to talk about the rumours – though he did proceed to hint that there may be some truth in them.

Certainly, Google’s presence could be felt throughout the event, with keynote demonstrations showing Salesforce.com’s platform working with Google’s APIs.

Most Salesforce.com events focus on the end user and the casual developer who wants to work with the software as service pioneer web forms. This one was different, and looked at some of the service’s newer developer-centric features.

And finally it’s back to a hot and sticky Orlando and RIM’s announcement of a new development platform for the Blackberry:

With as many.NET developers as there are BlackBerry users, it’s about time Research in Motion provided some Visual Studio development tools. There’s not too long to wait, as RIM used its Wireless Enterprise Symposium this week to unveil its first Visual Studio plug-in.

Don’t be confused – this isn’t a .NET solution, and RIM hasn’t ported the .NET CLR to its BlackBerry handsets. The company is remaining resolutely Java. Instead, RIM is taking its MDS Studio rapid application development tool and is turning it into a VSIP Visual Studio extension. As MDS Studio uses JavaScript and XML to deliver form-based applications that consume web services, it’s easy to see how this fits in with Visual Studio and .NET.

As always there’s more to come in plenty of other places, including a report on Mix07 in Web Designer, and a big piece from O’Reilly’s Maker Faire in next month’s PC Plus.

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2 Responses to 'Pimp my words: Recent pieces for El Dev Reg.'

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  1. alexmc said,

    for the record I did NOT see you pimping your Mashup article before I stumbled upon it and pimped it myself 🙂

  2. celestialweasel said,

    I know this is a terrible thing to say, but even after reading your article and looking at the examples, I still don’t see the point of the GME.
    To me, Google seem to be making many of the same mistakes as Netscape. When Netscape (the company) came along it seemed to me that the browser clearly belonged with the OS and that Microsoft would see that – their only chance was to create a genuine platform (either on the client, or server or both). What they came up with was Netscape ONE (Open Network Environment?) which was a lame rebagging of the hodge-podge of stuff they had.
    Google seem to be making the same mistake. What they SHOULD be doing is building some sort of CloudBasic which allows you to create AJAX apps that run on their cloud (for money, obviously) – making cloud computing and Ajax as easy as VB3 made Windows development. Instead they are faffing around with a hodge-podge of development stuff that it doesn’t look like they are taking seriously.
    If you have read High Stakes No Prisoners, he makes the point that people shipped IE with their software because IE was more customisable than Netscape. Google Earth seems to be making the same mistake, there are KML files admittedly, but my experience is that they scale very poorly – and I imagine Microsoft will make VE3D more configurable.

    Could Google buy / merge with Adobe I wonder? Would they be allowed to?


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