When it comes deploying rapid application development (RAD) tools, nobody knows for sure where those tools may need to optimally run today versus tomorrow. Looking to create a layer of infrastructure protection in the age of the cloud, Mendix has announced that it will standardize future development of its namesake RAD tools on the open source Cloud Foundry platform-as-a-service PaaS environment.
Mendix made its RAD environment available as a cloud service earlier this year. Mendix CTO Johan den Haan says that embracing Cloud Foundry provides Mendix with access to a layer of software that essentially isolates Mendix developers from the vagaries of the underlying cloud infrastructure. In fact, den Haan goes so far as to suggest that thanks to the advent of Cloud Foundry, many developers need not concern themselves with the infrastructure layer at all.
Rather than having to think about every infrastructure API, den Haan says, the Cloud Foundry PaaS provides a higher level of abstraction that gives developers a single API standard to access Mendix RAD environments running on premises, on a cloud service managed by a third-party service provider or on the cloud service managed by Mendix.
Support for Cloud Foundry not only allows Mendix to reduce its development costs in terms of building out a cloud environment, den Haan notes that Mendix also gains a voice in the development of future Cloud Foundry projects.
Mendix is trying to drive a convergence of RAD methodologies and cloud computing in a way the company expects will enable both “citizen developers” and professional developers to create custom applications at a higher level of abstraction in a way that truly scales.
The current reality of application development in the age of the cloud is that developers tend to deploy applications on the same cloud where they were initially built. The degree to which that remains the case as cloud computing matures remains uncertain. As an open source platform, Cloud Foundry gives developers a certain about of flexibility in terms of where applications might be deployed today or tomorrow.
Of course, how much real interoperability there will be across the various implementations of Cloud Foundry is still unproven. But in theory at least, developers should find it a lot easier to move an application between two implementations of Cloud Foundry than they would moving that same application between two infrastructure-as-a-service implementations based on disparate PaaS environments.
In the meantime, with several major cloud service providers rushing to enable access to Cloud Foundry, the one thing developers can count on going forward is that there will be no shortage of places for them to deploy applications on top of Cloud Foundry.