Saturday, September 15, 2007

We liked TurboAjax so much…we bought the company

Over the next few months, almost everything about the company-currently-know-as-ActiveGrid will undergo dramatic transformation. We are announcing the first step in this transformation on Monday with our acquisition of a top Dojo tool provider, TurboAjax.

TurboAjax brings an incredibly cool Dojo widget builder and equally talented developers into ActiveGrid. We first saw their products on July 26 and had a signed Letter of Intent exactly one week later - probably a land speed record for software acquisitions!

This acquisition also lands us at the center of the Dojo community of AJAX developers. Why Dojo? Well, we are targeting the enterprise, where internationalization and security are critical. We believe Dojo is creating the best UI toolkit for enterprise developers.

Earlier this week I waxed eloquent on the flaws in proprietary non-AJAX solutions like Silverlight, Flex and JavaFX. However it is also fair to point out that there are many challenges within the open source AJAX community as well, including:
  • Lack of commercial support: without the availability of commercial support, AJAX will not achieve enterprise adoption. With this acquisition, ActiveGrid will now stand behind both the TurboAjax products and the Dojo Toolkit.

  • Missing features: common complaints around the Dojo toolkit include lack of complete documentation and robust samples. If AJAX toolkits are to be adopted, they need the same polish as proprietary solutions like Flex.

  • Inconsistent standards: as the saying goes, the nice thing about AJAX standards is that there are so many to choose from. There is an alphabet soup of Javascript libraries out there, including JQuery, Prototype, Rico, Scriptaculous, Ext and YUI. Each of these takes a very different approach to solving the same problem.

  • Security: don't even get me started on the security challenges in an environment full of widgets, gadgets and 3rd party web services. Suffice it to say that when this rock gets turned over, lots of ugly stuff creepy-crawly things will slither out.
The AJAX world needs a RedHat to create a common distribution and provide commercial support and training behind an enterprise-ready toolkit. With our TurboAjax acquisition, ActiveGrid is taking an important first step down this path. Stay tuned for our next move!

4 comments:

Kirk Wilson said...

We have been "using" TurboGrid for over a year but cannot yet deploy for a number of reasons, notwithstanding our own developer team struggling to get up to speed with new technologies.

We are anxious to see that ActiveGrid enables Dojo and TurboGrid to become as commercially viable as possible for developers such as ourselves working to support social entrepreneurs in India and Pakistan.

I can understand why ActiveGrid bought the company. Now I am wondering how that will effect our efforts to support our users in Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Bengali and so on.

Time will tell whether ActiveGrid really boosts TurboGrid or picks its cool technology for its own purposes. We hope it is the former.

Kirk Wilson, CEO, WorldChangeNetwork.com

ckeene said...

Kirk - I'm sorry to hear of your problems. One immediately good thing about this acquisition is that you now have a support team to help you out! Contact them at support@activegrid.com. Alternately you can go to dev.activegrid.com to get community help/advice. On language support - this is one of the major reasons we chose Dojo. Given that we have partners and employees in India and Pakistan, I am confident that we can support your language requirements as well. You may have missed the announcement that TurboGrid is now part of the Dojo distribution, so it is safely out of our money-grubbing mits!

Ric Johnson said...

Dear Mr. Keene,

I sent an email to your persistence.com account, but it was rejected.

How do I contact you for a private mesaage?

Tim said...

Oh, how the world longs for Dojo documentation and example code! Go, go, go!