Disclaimer: Zoho is the sponsor of this blog but this is
my independent personal opinion. I had access to the same documents that were
provided to other bloggers.
Today, Zoho made a major announcement about the integration between Zoho
Creator and Google App Engine. Now, one can create an app on Zoho Creator and deploy it on Google App Engine. In short, Zoho Creator acts as an IDE for Google App
Engine. With this announcement, the barrier to entry for Google App Engine has
been brought down considerably. Anyone, who knows how to drag and drop,
can deploy an app on Google App Engine.
Sometime back Sridhar, CEO of Zoho, talked
about the theoretical possibility of taking apps from Zoho Creator and deploying
it on Amazon Web Services with Google App Engine as a middleware. He visualized
a continuum between these three services. Already, Chris
Anderson ported Google
App Engine to Amazon EC2 and released it as Open Source. With the release of
this feature, Zoho has ensured that Sridhar’s vision of continuum has turned
into a reality.
Anyone can create their own app on Zoho creator and deploy it at Google App
Engine or they can just pick up an app (for free or for a small price) from Zoho Marketplace and,
then, deploy it on Google App Engine. Usually it doesn’t make any sense to take
an app from Zoho Marketplace and to deploy it on App Engine as it is totally
redundant. However, businesses can use this option and implement the domain
based authentication offered by Google App Engine for the apps. This way,
businesses can have exclusive access to the app and data from inside their own
domain, a feature that was not available in the Zoho Creator Application
(someone please correct me if I am wrong on this assertion).
For me, this is interesting from another angle. I am an unabashed Open Source
evangelist in the desktop world. Even though the source code is important in the
SaaS world, one can’t do much with the code if they don’t have the necessary
computing and storage resources to run the application. People, who believed
strongly in Open Source, had to look beyond the source code in the SaaS world.
We need to worry about open protocols, open formats, open architecture, etc..
Data Portability and Interoperability, then, becomes very important in the SaaS
world. In fact, I will say that Data Portability and Interoperability are two of
the necessary factors for the very success of the SaaS itself. With this
realization, vendors are moving towards creating an interoperability between
their SaaS applications. In some cases, SaaS vendors are working directly with
others to offer interoperability. Salesforce’s recent integration with Google
App Engine is an example of this kind of approach. There are also third party
integration tools available to help establish interoperability between platforms
of different vendors.
With the CloudSQL release last month, Zoho took the necessary step
towards Data Portability. With this move, Zoho is taking the step towards
establishing Interoperability with other vendors. Well, they are already working
with Google and Yahoo on authentication side but this is a very significant move
by itself. It is pretty clear that Zoho is taking the necessary steps to
establish themselves as a major player in the years to come.
Check out this video by Raju Vegesna, Evangelist at Zoho, where he explains
the deployment process from Zoho Creator to Google App Engine.
Right now, once the app is created on Zoho Creator, users can download the
Python code and then deploy it on Google App Engine. According to Raju, Zoho has
a working code where one can easily deploy the apps on App Engine directly from
Zoho Creator. They are now working with Google to make this possible within the
terms and conditions of Google App Engine. He also assured me that Zoho Creator
will allow users to download the app code in other scripting languages as and
when Google starts supporting them in their platform. He explained that it is
possible because apps created on Zoho Creator are saved as Deluge code at the
backend and Deluge is designed in such a way that the entire code is modeled in
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