Evaluating SaaS Platforms For ISVs
Here are important criteria for ISVs to consider in evaluating SaaS platforms (sometimes called Platform as a Service, or PaaS):
- Open hosting: can I move applications I build to another SaaS hosting providers? Many SaaS platforms lock the ISV into a proprietary hosting provider (e.g., SalesForce). ZDNet says that ISVs need to offer their SaaS software both on demand and on premises.
- Full platform: does the SaaS platform offer a complete development solution with presentation layer, business logic, security, database and web services? Some SaaS platforms only offer part of the development stack (e.g., DabbleDB, Tibco GI)
- Standard language: does the SaaS platform support development using a standard language such as Java? Many SaaS platforms are based on proprietary languages (e.g., Apex, the proprietary language for SalesForce).
Table: A Comparison of PaaS Vendors
* Proprietary language
SaaS Platform Product Review - WaveMaker
WaveMaker is an open source, visual development platform for building Web 2.0 applications. The WaveMaker studio can be installed on a developer workstsation or delivered on-demand. WaveMaker creates standard Java applications based on Spring, Hibernate and Dojo that can be deployed in a SaaS or on premise architecture.
For ISVs, WaveMaker offers several compelling benefits:
- WaveMaker's visual studio provides a faster and more natural way to build rich internet applications than traditional hand-coding using Java and struts
- WaveMaker is completely open, making it portable across hosting providers and even enabling applications to be deployed on premise
- WaveMaker includes a complete development platform based on open source standards such as Spring, Hibernate and Dojo
- WaveMaker is based on the Java language, making it an ideal choice for ISVs who already develop in Java and don't want to migrate their existing server code.
Summary - What ISVs Need From SaaS
Every ten years there is a dramatic shift in the development tools world: in the 80’s to client/server, in the ‘90s to three tier and now in the 00’s to SaaS. In each of these shifts, the dominant development tools providers have been supplanted by a new generation. This time around, the seismic shift is being driven by the on-demand architecture and the ISVs have the most urgent need to rebuild their solutions to remain competitive.
Over the next five years, we will see the 500 pound gorillas of the development world like Microsoft’s ASP.NET and Sun’s J2EE unseated. In their place will be new software platforms based on traditional languages that are specially designed to enable development of SaaS applications.