VMware Buys Visual, Java-Based Cloud Development Platform

Virtualization vendor VMware recently announced the acquisition of WaveMaker, a San Francisco-based provider of a graphical development platform for Java-based Web and cloud applications.

The WaveMaker Java IDE is based on the Spring Framework and aimed at non-expert developers who want to create Java apps. It's a visual development environment, with drag-and-drop functionality specifically designed to make life easier for the growing population of non-coder developers (so-called "citizen developers") of Java apps for the Web. Its applications can be deployed directly into the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Rackspace, OpSource and/or Eucalyptus clouds.

WaveMaker supports the top four Web browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Chrome), and also supports the migration of Oracle Forms, Microsoft Access, Microsoft .NETand Lotus Notes apps to into the IDE.

The WaveMaker IDE was already part of the Spring community; with this acquisition, it will be integrated and developed in line with the VMware Spring Java framework, the company said.

Rod Johnson, senior vice president and general manager of VMware's SpringSource product division, made the announcement on the SpringSource Team Blog. "This acquisition furthers VMware's cloud application platform strategy by empowering additional developers to build and run modern applications that share information with underlying infrastructure to maximize performance, quality of service and infrastructure utilization," he wrote.

Johnson wrote the first version of the Spring framework, which is a layered Java/J2EE framework based on code published in his book Expert One-on-One Java EE Design and Development (Wrox Press, October 2002). He also founded SpringSource, which was acquired by VMware.

SpringSource has become a cornerstone technology in VMware's cloud strategy. Back in April, VMware joined forces with software-as-a-service provider to create a platform for building and running Java applications in the cloud. The new VMforce platform combined VMware's vSphere virtualization platform, the SpringSource Java development framework, and Salesforce's cloud computing platform to create what the companies called “the trusted cloud for enterprise Java developers.”

A month later, VMware partnered with Google to let Java developers use Google and VMware tools on cloud apps and deployments of Spring Java applications on the Google App Engine.

Redmonk analyst Michael Coté sees the Wavemaker acquisition as "a technical and business fit." Writing on his People Over Process blog, Coté added, "Technologically, VMWare is interested in seeing wider Java-based application development, [especially] in the 'line of business' area that the easier-to-use WaveMaker tool targets. As I so often quip, you don't hear about Rapid Application Development (RAD) anymore, but the need for tools that allow more junior (or just cheaper) programmers to create applications hasn't ever gone away…."

"I've always believed that we should eventually provide Spring-based technology to enable less technical users to build such applications, increasing the value of the Spring platform and enabling many business problems to be solved most cheaply," Johnson wrote. "In practice, this means introducing visual tooling to take the place of coding, in areas (such as UI design) where automation is possible.  Done right, such automation can even benefit professional developers, for certain classes of application."

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].