The eXo Cloud IDE gives developers an alternative to expensive platforms from IBM and Oracle, the latter of which acquired the Java intellectual property when it acquired Sun Microsystems in 2010. Specifically, eXo simplifies the development of user experience features of an application, such as a social networking front end, a portal or dashboard, says John Rymer, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research. Without an IDE like eXo’s, the developer has to create those features from scratch.
"That’s the role that eXo is trying to play given that the user experience portions of applications are so critical and given that most of the Java platform vendors out there are just doing a poor job of providing them," Rhymer says. "eXo is trying to fill that gap."
Because the eXo Cloud IDE is delivered from the cloud, developers don't need to first write and test the apps on their own desktop computer and then try to see how they run in the cloud, says Benjamin Mestrallet, founder and CEO of eXo, who calls his approach "development as a service," or DaaS.
"You don’t need to have anything installed on your desktop; you just open your browser and then you have the IDE inside your browser," says Mestrallet, adding that the cloud allows multiple developers to collaborate on a project from different locations.
With the addition of support for the Cloud Foundry PaaS, eXo now supports four PaaS offerings, having previously announced support for CloudBees, Heroku and Red Hat OpenShift.
The eXo Cloud IDE allows developers to create apps in PHP, Ruby and Ruby on Rails; support for additional languages, frameworks and PaaS environments "is planned for the future," the company said in a news release.
But CEO Mestrallet says its main focus is going to be on Java and what he calls the Java Spring Project, an open source application framework for the Java platform. "We do think that the real business, the real money at some point, is still in the Java market," he says.
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