Auckland-based software company Straker Interactive is taking on the US rich-internet application development market and has just been awarded a $100,000 export development grant by New Zealand Trade & Enterprise.
The company’s main product is a content-management system, but it has recently started to see great potential in ZoomFlex, an application which allows for the easy development of Adobe Flex rich-internet applications (RIA), says chief executive Grant Straker.
“The whole rich-internet space has really started to take off and this paradigm shift is being totally driven from the developers up,” he says.
“We banked a lot of our business on the fact that RIA would eventually take off,” he adds.
Straker and his team realised early on that RIA technologies would be the future of the internet, he says. The company, founded in 2000, has put a lot of money and resources into research and development in the last three or four years and has been waiting for the RIA revolution to happen, he says. In 2004, the company signed an OEM agreement with Adobe to ship Flex with Straker’s product-set, which allowed the company to gain “a huge amount of experience” with Flex.
ZoomFlex, launched a year ago, simplifies the building of Adobe Flex 2 applications and significantly decreases development time, says Straker. Flex, as well as Flash, is becoming mainstream and the majority of developers — except for “Flex-gurus” — just want someone else to solve the problems, so they can get on with implementing the applications, he says.Straker Interactive has 12 staff in Auckland (of whom eight are developers) two in Sydney and three in the UK. The intention was to launch ShadoCMS, the content-management system, into the US market, too, but this proved to be rather difficult. Then Straker realised that if he could reach the Flex community with the ZoomFlex product these developers might start using the content-management system, too.
The company aimed to make itself known by sponsoring four Adobe conferences in the US in the last year, says Straker. The Flex community has grown significantly so the timing was right.
The developer-to-developer approach paid off and the company now has a growing client-base in the US, says Straker.
ShadoCMS and ZoomFlex fit together, says Straker. The content-management system allows developers to quickly build web applications in multiple languages, and to optimise the apps for search engines, he says. ZoomFlex enables customisation of the base CMS engine and the creation of fully integrated Flex-based RIAs.
Straker Interactive is organising a developer conference in August, which will focus on RIA technologies across the board — Adobe’s products, Microsoft’s Silverlight and Sun’s JavaFX Script. The conference is being held in Queenstown.