eXo Unveils New Cloud Tool for Java Developers

eXo announces its 2011 roadmap, which features the delivery of eXo Platform 3.5 and a new eXo Cloud IDE now available via private beta.

eXo, a Java portal infrastructure provider, has announced the latest version of its platform, along with a new cloud developer service for Java platform as a service.

In a March 15 announcement, eXo unveiled its roadmap to take modern enterprise portals, gadgets and mashups to cloud computing environments. For enterprise companies that have invested in Java, eXo is offering a path to the cloud that will help reduce costs, simplify administration and substantially shorten time-to-deployment for new applications.

In an interview with eWEEK about the company's 2011 roadmap, Benjamin Mestrallet, eXo's CEO, said eXo will deliver eXo Platform 3.5, a multi-tenant user experience platform (UXP) for Java systems. Mestrallet said a UXP is the evolution of the enterprise portal to support a variety of consumer web technologies that affect how people interact with the web today. In addition to multi-tenancy and cloud management capabilities, eXo Platform 3.5 will feature improvements to its web-based IDE, making it easier to write, test and deploy gadgets, mashups, HTML5 and content applications.

eXo also announced a new integrated development environment (IDE) known as the eXo Cloud IDE, a new service offering available via a private beta. The first of a set of free cloud services planned for 2011, eXo Cloud IDE is a hosted development environment that facilitates social coding--the collaborative development of gadgets and mashups that can be deployed directly to a PaaS. eXo Cloud Services enhance PaaS development and will leverage core technology in eXo Platform 3.5, including multi-tenancy, social and collaboration features.

"Over the last six months, our customers have found a real Java alternative to SharePoint with eXo Platform 3.0, and they're deploying transactional websites, managing web and social content and building next-generation gadgets and dashboards with it," Mestrallet said in a statement. "In 2011, eXo is once again changing the game for enterprise portals with deployment options that meet today's computing requirements. With our cloud-ready user experience platform and PaaS developer services, eXo is paving a path to the cloud for Java enterprises."

Mestrallet told eWEEK the eXo Cloud IDE is an IDE for cloud application development. "We want to be the entry point to the PaaS and point of getting to the PaaS is to get the developers. We see a huge trend of web developers going to the cloud." For instance, "We can have the IDE deployed on the [Amazon] Elastic Beanstalk stack."

In a blog post, Mestrallet said:

"The idea for our web-based IDE originated over three years ago. At that time several customers, who were already using version 2 of eXo Platform to build websites and intranets, wanted an online tool to view, edit and redeploy web content templates.To provide this capability, we decided to implement a simple HTML, JavaScript and CSS code editor, leveraging Google Web Toolkit. While prototyping it, we soon realized we were on to something big, and our ambition for the project grew.It wasn't long before the team expanded to 6 core developers, with a goal of building a full-fledged online IDE. The IDE would allow our customers to dynamically customize and enhance the capabilities of the platform, by building and deploying REST APIs, OpenSocial Gadgets or simple HTML/JavaScript apps. This first version of the IDE was introduced in eXo Platform 3, released in September 2010."

Mestrallet said the eXo Platform is based on the open source GateIn portal for building and deploying transactional websites, managing web and social content and creating gadgets and dashboards. It lets companies leverage their existing Java infrastructure, while accommodating changing user behavior driven by consumer web technologies such as social networks, social publishing, forums, and more.

eXo Platform 3.5, which is slated to ship in the second half of 2011, makes it easier to develop, extend and deploy modern enterprise portals, gadgets and mashups in cloud computing environments.

eXo Platform 3.5 opens up cloud deployment options for multiple users, including service providers, to manage portals with a single user experience across many customers. It enables IT operations manage and monitor a private or public cloud from within one portal. And the platform enables users to add enterprise social and collaboration capabilities easily, embed business applications in dashboards, and extend the portal by aggregating private and public cloud applications.

Meanwhile, eXo Cloud Services is a set of free services that will enhance PaaS development. The first service out the gate is eXo Cloud IDE, and development teams are invited to participate in the private beta, Mestrallet said.

Key features and benefits in the Cloud IDE roadmap include:

  • Web Development: A single environment for wiring REST services, HTML5, Gadgets and structured content to create rich mashups and web apps on the fly. Because coding is done in a production environment, moving from code to testing and deployment can be done much faster.
  • Quick Setup of New Domains: As a multi-tenant service, creation of a new network is almost instant. Developers can pick a domain, invite their development team and start coding in their own IDE.
  • Source Control Integration: Support for Git and SVN.
  • Collaborative Development: Enables social coding with activity streams and collaboration tools like wikis and forums.
  • Deployment Flexibility: Ability to deploy locally on the Cloud IDE platform, or remotely via Git push or classic WAR deployment.
  • PaaS-agnostic: Develop and package Java web projects as webarchive (.war) and deploy on popular Java PaaS. In the future, eXo intends to extend support beyond Java to Rails, Node.js, Play and .NET, among others.

Moreover, summing up his post, Mestrallet said:

""Cloud computing is clearly more than a buzzword - it is completely transforming our industry. Most of the applications we know today will be used in the cloud tomorrow, including development environments. Accessing and editing apps from many devices, deploying them seamlessly on dev, staging or production environments, sharing code online or managing IDE upgrades or configuration for across teams are now simple tasks. This is all made possible because of the Cloud IDE. I hope you'll join us in trying it out, and let us know what you think.""