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Exclusive Q&A with Jeff Haynie, Co-Founder & CEO, Appcelerator

Appcelerator Building Out the RIA Open Source Community

"Companies have invested a significant amount of money in SOA – and continue to do so," says Jeff Haynie, Co-Founder & CEO of Appcelerator, in this exclusive Q&A with SYS-CON's AJAX & RIA Journal in the run-up to Appcelerator's session on October 20 at AJAX World RIA Conference & Expo in San Jose, California (October 20-22, 2008). "One of the keys to unlocking the full return on investment in SOA is the ability to build service-oriented UIs (SOUIs) – clients designed to consume services, regardless of language or platform," Haynie continues. "We believe Appcelerator's approach truly zeros in on the need for a clean separation of the application from services in an agile development model," he adds. Read the interiew in full below...

About Jeff Haynie
Jeff Haynie is co-founder and CEO of Appcelerator, an open source software company that develops products and services for enterprise RIA and SOA-based services development.

AJAX & RIA Journal: When you and Nolan Wright co-founded Appcelerator in 2006, what were the pain points that you aimed to solve?

Jeff Haynie: When Nolan and I started building RIAs for our early consulting engagements, we looked at all the various solutions on the market. We were frustrated by the state of Web development platforms, surprised by how little change had occurred since the Web 1.0 meltdown.

When a developer wants to build an RIA today, there’s no integrated platform to work with. You have to piece together all the components – design tools, widgets, Javascript libraries, etc. – before you can start building your app. Said another way, you have to build your platform before you can build your app – we wanted to change that.

We also wanted to develop a next-generation platform that would embrace the true essence of open-source, letting the community adapt and expand the solution to suit the widest possible range of options, without limitations or propriety.
What we’ve come up with is a fully-integrated RIA platform that enables developers to rapidly assemble RIAs, using an easy-to-learn Web Expression Language, widgets, SOA integration points and other open standards-based elements. A key differentiator of our platform is that you can develop RIAs that work on any platform, and in any browser, using the skills you already have – with a particular focus on helping enterprises develop RIAs that seamlessly integrate with, and extend the value of their SOAs.
AJAX & RIA Journal: Could you expand on how, in your view, SOA and RIAs interface?
Haynie: Companies have invested a significant amount of money in SOA – and continue to do so. One of the keys to unlocking the full return on investment in SOA is the ability to build service-oriented UIs (SOUIs) – clients designed to consume services, regardless of language or platform. By de-coupling client and service development and deployment, we’re able to enable UIs to communicate with services using lightweight messages – these message contracts define how the UI and its target services communicate.
When you develop an RIA client on Appcelerator, it can consume services written in any programming language without changing code. This gives developers the capability to change their programming language or simultaneously consume services written in different programming languages, without having to make changes to the client application. This capability is unmatched by other platforms in the market today.
As you’ll see in future releases of our product, we’ll continue to expand the range of capabilities and features around services – working closely with our community to deliver the features and capabilities necessary to fully leverage their SOA investments.
We believe this approach truly zeros in on the need for a clean separation of the application from services in an agile development model. SOA-ready RIAs can be built faster, providing enterprises with more options for visualizing data and information from multiple sources.
AJAX & RIA Journal: What license is the Appcelerator Platform available under?

Haynie: All of Appcelerator’s products are currently available under a GNU public license or “GPL”. We also provide customers with commercial licensing options based on their needs and requirements.

AJAX & RIA Journal: Given your involvement with RIAs written in Java, .NET, Perl, PHP, Python and Ruby, do you see any clear favorite in terms of programming language when it comes to rich-web apps?
Haynie: We’re dedicated to building the largest open-source community dedicated to RIAs, breaking down the barriers between traditional preferred languages, programming models and solutions. To date, we’ve seen the strongest amount of interest from Java and PHP developers, but have continued to see steady growth across Ruby, Python, Perl and .NET programmers as well. We don’t look at our products, solutions or community from a “favorites” point-of-view, since everyone is working towards the same goal – build better applications in less time. We’re committed to building a community that can serve the needs of all developers, regardless of the technologies they want to use most.


Next Page: Haynie on Marc Fleury, Marten Mickos, Microsoft, and the Future...

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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