Thursday, July 10, 2008

Alliance: PaaS -sing it on to Java, Grails and maybe some more

It is easy to lose perspective when the hugeness of buzz and hype envelopes most that surrounds you. And the preference of coding tools is not an exception. Look at the time Google launched its AppEngine and debate around the support for Python was hand-in-hand over the threat of lock-in. Fast-forward today and the lock-in issue has been more or less addressed (by the community, of course) but regarding coding language, much ado about nothing.

Still coders are a hardy lot when it comes to turfs. Despite the prevailing sense of reason that languages are but tools towards a projected application result, many continue to espouse the "ours are better than yours" mentality. And you thought that religion was divided enough.

But the programming world is such a big pie that a premise contrary to this isn't guaranteed to make a worthy app. What developers need is an environment that provides the support and the tools to make them better at their craft and increase the chances of hitting it big. It could be something regarding workspace or culture and for the better part, we know all types/kinds of workers need that.

But there's also the coding environment.

Clouds like Amazon's are a big help now. It is language agnostic that with proper configuration, programmers will have a good enough place for their apps for a fee. But it takes effort to work on this and more so, on managing it. This is where PaaS providers come in and lighten the load literally. Ruby on Rails got better momentum leveraging the PaaS platforms and replicating this for other languages isn't a bad idea. Many providers are coming up with their different solutions right now and despite the apprehensions, I honestly believe that cloud space adoption will increase.

But for that to happen, platforms will need to continue to innovate. Using open source technologies is a great way to start and pushing them to include support for all languages will be mutually beneficial. Ruby on Rails may have gotten a head start but the Java community with Grails is just too big in numbers that we can expect it too to have adopters equal to or maybe more than the number of PaaS Rails users there is in the world now.

The possibilities with clouds and platforms are endless at this point given that mobile is also focusing its signals on it. I guess there is a lot more we haven't thought of yet. That it shouldn't stop with Ruby on Rails or with Java is something certain. And what about the other emergent web frameworks? Maybe some PaaS providers need to just take a chance with it and help it grow.

Anybody who says PaaS exists only for the big programming languages is short-sighted. But that is another story which is not for the faint-hearted.