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Web 2.0 Development For The Common Man

Talk about tilting at windmills. WaveMaker CEO Chris Keene is challenging Microsoft's Visual Studio while simultaneously pointing out the drawbacks of Java development. Keene may be suffering delusions of grandeur--or perhaps he's onto something.
Talk about tilting at windmills. WaveMaker CEO Chris Keene is challenging Microsoft's Visual Studio while simultaneously pointing out the drawbacks of Java development. Keene may be suffering delusions of grandeur--or perhaps he's onto something.Keene has been beating the drum of faster, easier Web 2.0 development since joining WaveMaker (then called ActiveGrid) in January 2007. The company's WaveMaker Visual Ajax Studio pulls popular open source development tools -- Spring, Hibernate, Dojo, etc. -- into a visual application builder. (InformationWeek featured WaveMaker as our Startup Of The Week earlier this month.)

Not long ago, WaveMaker released the results of a survey on Web 2.0 development that it commissioned from Precision Marketing Group. The key finding: 83% of respondents said their companies wanted to move applications to the Web but lacked the resources and expertise to do it. Keene argues the answer is to empower "nonexpert" developers to do that work using WaveMaker.

By nonexpert developers, Keene's referring to developers whose experience has revolved around client-server software, say Microsoft Access or Lotus Notes, not salespeople or accountants. "Developers with 10+ years of experience with client/server tools have no clear way to 'upskill' to building Web 2.0 apps…" he writes in his blog. "WaveMaker is focusing on the skills migration."

Without such tools, Keene says, building rich Internet applications is beyond the scope of many developers. I talked to him about this recently, and you can see the interview below.

What do others think: Can a toolset like WaveMaker's lower the barriers to Web development?