As we progress with our prototyping effort it was time for us to decide what kind of technology we will use for our final application. So I had several conversations with executives from Macromedia trying to understand their strategy around ColdFusion, I explored Ruby on Rails, considered an Ajax/JavaScript pure play and obviously the traditional Java world. I learned a few interesting things: the most prominent community and also one of the top 10 sites in the Internet: Myspace.com is built on ColdFusion. I noticed that my Bank of America online banking application is a vast ColdFusion site. I was reminded that Java and JavaScript are two very different things and Ajax is a JavaScript based environment/methodology. Yet the richest and most widely used user interface outside HTML is Flash. The world is not as homogeneous as it was. It is no longer Java versus .net like it was C++ versus Basic.

Clearly Java is a very powerful development environment and a developer can pretty much do anything – but also make any possible mistake and take for ever to debug their code. It very much reminded me at the assembler days. Assembler was this powerful, development environment which produced lighting fast code. How ever development took for ever, mistakes were difficult to debug and changes to difficult to implement.

In the fast moving SaaS and Web 2.0 world we are at a similar crossroad. Do we go with the traditional Java code or do we rethink even that. In Tanooma we came to the conclusion that we choose speed over secure tradition.

The soon to be ready for Beta of Tanooma is a multi tenant multi organization cross communication application. Meaning multiple accounts such as SaaS vendors will use it, unlimited users will look at the respective offerings, consultants will be able to connect with vendors but also with users and investors will be connected with any company they are invested in or interested in. A technology which I call “Account Bridge” supports that cross organization cross communication. The development environment needed to allow that kind of complexity, support clustering to support a large amount of users to be simultaneously logged in and perform their activities. While Java seamed to be the logical choice – we decided to go with ColdFusion, AJAX, JavaScript, ActionScript and Flash. It took only 3 month to develop a functional prototype. The application is richer than pretty much anything on the market today – but at one price: There is no longer this one “language” we use. It is a collection of best of breed tools which all promised to interact – and we are very lucky: they do. But Tanooma is not the only company that questions Java as a development platform. Many of the new apps whether they come from Google, AjaxLaunch or many others avoid the long and rather complicated development cycles and leverage the rather new and much more user attracting Flash and Ajax world.

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