VMware's acquisition of WaveMaker is the perfect move to round out the company's developer strategy around the Spring Framework and find a place in the cloud akin to Microsoft and Google.
VMware's Rod Johnson talks, people tend to listen.
person who clearly is listening to Johnson -- general manager of VMware's
SpringSource division -- is Paul Maritz, CEO of VMware, who commissioned
Johnson to acquire WaveMaker and its Spring-based visual development tool that
enables "non-expert" programmers to build Web applications quickly and easily.
The move marks another in a series of acquisitions VMware (via SpringSource)
has made to elbow its way to a place at the table for leading cloud platform
fact, this move provides VMware even more elbow room, as going after
non-coding, less-technical developers will expand the reach of the Spring
ecosystem. Maritz and company took a bet on Spring when they acquired
SpringSource back in 2009
as a wedge to bust into the Java development
world in a big way, as Spring now boasts millions of developers.
spent formative years in the software industry at Microsoft, both Maritz and
Tod Nielsen, VMware's co-president in charge of the company's application
platform, know the value of developers to a platform and to a company overall.
Nielsen helped devise Microsoft's blueprint for reaching out to developers and
left Microsoft as a vice president of the company's platform group. At the SpringOne
of Spring developers in October 2010 in Chicago, Nielsen
told eWEEK he was there primarily to observe and gather intelligence.
really just here to watch and listen, and to see what developers want and need
out of us," he said. "I'm taking note of how different people are using Spring
and the other tools as we continue to put this strategy together. We're not
finished by any means."
WaveMaker acquisition is yet another move in that strategy. Some observers view
the move as significant because it gives VMware more of the full stack that
others such as Microsoft and Google have - that is, a stack that reaches from the
infrastructure, through the programming model, to the UI widgets. And rather
than acquiring a UI toolkit to match something like the Google Web Toolkit
(GWT), VMware went after the non-professional developer in a move reminiscent
of Microsoft with Visual Basic. And the growing number of cloud-based services
will create a fertile ground for mashup type apps that combine REST-based
services in a similar fashion to how the Visual Basic apps from a couple
decades ago combined data sources.
Microsoft parallels continue, as Microsoft just released a second
of its LightSwitch
tool, a new addition to the Visual Studio family that enables non-professional
developers to create professional-quality business applications for the
desktop, the Web and the cloud. Microsoft has long understood the need to
support a continuum of developers, from deeply technical C++ developers to less
technical users of tools such as VB, the aborted Popfly
and now LightSwitch.
as it appears to be running variations of plays from the classic Microsoft
playbook, VMware potentially stands as an eventual landing spot for Microsoft
engineers steeped in cloud computing and perhaps disenchanted by recent
management moves by the software giant.
as RedMonk's Michael
put it, "Technologically, VMware is interested in seeing wider
Java-based application development, especially in the -line of business' area
that the easier-to-use WaveMaker tool targets." He added, "More forward
looking, WaveMaker is a good fit for a PAAS [platform as a service], having a
sort of wiki approach to applications running in the cloud."
Choksi, president and chief operating officer at Tasktop Technologies, who
formerly played a similar role at SpringSource, told eWEEK, "This acquisition
seems completely consistent with SpringSource's history of trying to make
enterprise Java development accessible to all and seems like a natural
progression from Spring itself to the SpringSource Tool Suite to Roo and now to
although the Spring Framework helps eliminate much of the complexity of
enterprise Java development, Spring, with its AOP (aspect-oriented programming)
support is not for the squeamish. It is a professional developer's platform.