Computing in the cloud and Web 2.0 were cited as today's cutting-edge, game-changing innovations during a US developer relations conference that featured presentations by Salesforce.com and Cisco Systems.
Officials from these companies presented at the Evans Data Developer Relations Conference in California this month. In-the-cloud computing, or SaaS, represents a shift from client-server, says Adam Gross, Salesforce.com vice president of sales and marketing.
"I think the impact of that shift for developers is only beginning to be understood," Gross says.
With the SaaS model, multi-tenancy means users have a shared instance of an application. But the transition from SaaS to PaaS (platform as a service) allows customised programmability while maintaining the multi-tenant model, says Gross. Salesforce.com calls its PaaS program Force.com, for delivering software on demand.
PaaS will drive the future of software, and if the industry is moving to SaaS, it is not going to proceed with client-server development tools, Gross says.
Salesforce.com experiences more API traffic and more SOAP web services and XML traffic than web page traffic. This means more people use the system from other computers and other programming languages from a developer context than end-users accessing the system from a web browser, Gross says.
Meanwhile, Salesforce.com has been successful with the multi-tenancy model and is on its way to becoming the first US$1 billion vendor in the SaaS category, says Gross.
With client-server, the technology stack had to be rebuilt for every application. In cloud computing, it is about just building the applications. Meanwhile, everyone is becoming a developer in a new mass innovation model, he says.
A Cisco official, meanwhile, emphasised the company's purchase of the WebEx Web-conferencing service.
Gary Griffiths, president of WebEx products and operations at Cisco cites the importance of collaboration and Web 2.0 benefits for business.
"In Cisco WebEx, we're developing a set of Web 2.0 collaborative applications," Griffiths says. These collaborative applications are targeted at knowledge workers. Cisco also is promoting business mashups that unite people, process and data into a single UI.
Collaborative applications are delivered to end-users through a unified communications/collaboration client. Cisco, for its part, is a heavy user of WebEx, using it to manage a global development team. "We use WebEx more than Boeing," which has 120,000 customers using it, Griffiths says.
He cites converging technology trends, including Web 2.0 and social networking, unified communications, SOA and web services, and SaaS.
With the transition to Web 2.0 and SaaS, incumbent technology vendors have no entitlement to being the leader, Griffiths says. Web 2.0 represents a fundamental change in how people use software, "and we believe we can be a leader in this space," he says.
WebEx provides a missing link to Cisco's unified communications stack, says Griffiths. It also has enabled a good relationship with Microsoft.
"We have a great relationship with Microsoft even though Microsoft has always been our biggest competitor in Web conferencing," says Griffiths. Microsoft must make its Windows Vista OS work with WebEx, and Cisco must do the same with Vista, Griffiths says.
He also notes Cisco's plans to unite the WebEx on-demand product with the Cisco MeetingPlace behind-the-firewall conferencing solution. This gives users a commonly branded product for behind-the-firewall usage, on-demand or a hybrid of the two.
James Andrews, Evans Data president and CEO, says a survey of 450 developers done in March indicated Microsoft is the leading choice for Web 2.0 development software.
Latin America, for example, will surpass a million developers this year. "We're looking at them achieving 1.7 million developers in 2011," Andrews says. Global developer population is forecasted to grow about 7% a year.
Microsoft leads the pack as the choice for Web 2.0 development, followed by Google, says Andrews. Microsoft's Silverlight presentation technology also is becoming popular, he says.