Saturday, November 15, 2008

Languages in Reasonably Smart

What I love about JavaScript isn't just that it is the programming language of the web, or it's most elegant object system, or even the functional capabilities that are in SpiderMonkey.  With my platform-provider hat on what I love the most is that it's a hardened language.

JavaScript (or, more properly, ECMAScript)  just doesn't have that many capabilities built in, beyond the basic language mechanisms you find in any other programming language.  Sure, you can allocate memory, or put it into a tight loop, but all of those things are detectable from our perspective - again, that of the platform provider.   The big thing you don't get out of the box of course, is IO.

IO is our job.  Reasonably Smart provides carefully wrapped capabilities to read from disk, write to the datastore, and a whole bunch more.  More importantly, we can do it in a secure, considered manner.  This lets us run many different applications on a machine, or a cloud of machines at the same time, without having to carefully vet each codebase to make sure it's not going to do anything bad.

However, some people react strongly to the idea of Server Side JavaScript, and we realize people do like other languages too, which is why we multiple-language support is on our roadmap.  To shine a little more light on our plans -  it's why we're so keen on seeing Mozilla's IronMonkey project get going, and why we are going to support it in any way that we can.

IronMonkey is a planned development to get IronPython and IronRuby compiling to the Tamarin Virtual Machine (the JITting ECMAScript VM that Adobe open-sourced with Mozilla a couple of years ago).   When the IronMonkey project is complete Reasonably Smart will be able to support any language that compiles to the Tamarin virtual machine. 

Having multiple languages is important to us, but not more important than having a safe, secure environment for our customer's applications to run in.  Thanks to open-source, and Mozilla, IronMonkey will help us get there.  In the meantime, we think JavaScript is great - if you've not programmed JavaScript without all that tedious mucking about in the DOM, try it - you'll be pleasantly surprised!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Financing the PaaS - A Friendly Host May Be The Answer

The Reasonably Smart project has just crossed into the 9th week of our funding mission. Let me just say, it has just been a fantastic 8 weeks to be raising capital! Especially with all that stability, strength and optimism all around us!

Actually, despite the fact the "sky was falling" over the past two months the response to our company has been generally positive. Many of the VCs that we have talked to have indeed passed – as they do – but a couple are digging in. Unfortunately, we are still a long way from a deal.

On the bright side, one concept that is picking up momentum is one we were aware of but did not immediately pursue. That is the option of strategically and financially partnering with a hosting provider. Originally we did not move in this direction because of the bias we had towards hosting companies generally being "traditional" suppliers to us. However, based on the conversations we have had over the past 2 - 3 weeks, we realized that they could be so much more.

The whole cloud computing evolution has completely changed how innovative hosting companies are viewing the future. Deals are being made all over the industry that are designed to "on ramp" these companies to the cloud. Hosting companies who want to broaden their offering and/or add more depth to their stack are looking at Platform as a Service (PaaS) with great interest. Those providers who are extremely forward thinking and who want to engage the developer directly and/or create a developer ecosystem, are beginning to see how leveraging a PaaS could be a great way to do this.

Fundamentally, with certain providers the realization seems to be that their hardware is the power generation plant, and a PaaS could be the distribution network that links them to the "home and office". This is all good news for Reasonably Smart as our funding options are increasing "in this time of great need" .

So, if you are a hosting/hardware cloud provider who is looking to extend its offering, its reach and embrace the developer directly, have a look at partnering with a PaaS company.

And, more importantly (to us), if you have money to invest and are going in this direction, take a look at Reasonably Smart as we are still looking for our partner.