RealTime IT News

Laszlo Open Sources Rich App Tool

SAN FRANCISCO -- Laszlo Systems opened its XML application toolset and server software to the open source community, a move it hopes will foster adoption of its software among developers.

The technology consists of presentation layer development tools and an application framework to create rich client applications in Web browsers. Laszlo uses Java on the server, as well as some JavaScript along with the XML to create rich applications consuming Web services that run as part of dynamic Web pages.

"They're attempting to move the Web from a document delivery platform to an application delivery platform," Web 2.0 conference chair John Battelle told the audience.

While Laszlo offers similar functionality to Microsoft's .NET in that respect, CTO David Temkin said that Laszlo-generated content will run on any browser, any client and any platform. The tool now represents the content as a movie in Macromedia's Flash format, and it will eventually be able to generate pages for users of Longhorn, Microsoft's next-generation operating system.

Laszlo CEO Steve Ciesinski said open sourcing the tools will eliminate a big barrier to their use.

"People have expressed to us that we have a wonderful platform and tools, but we have to pay for them first, then we build out the application. Can you make it easier? We've chosen to make money on supporting the platform and providing professional services." The company will charge for tech support, bug fixes and maintenance. It will also offer custom design and development services while it builds software modules in-house and licenses them to customers.

The company previewed a new custom Web e-mail application it hopes to offer to ISPs and enterprises at Web 2.0.

San Francisco, Calif.-based Laszlo released the tools and server software under the Common Public License, which allows developers to create proprietary applications on top of the source code.

Temkin said that, since the platform was initially released in 2003, the market has changed.

"It's hard to go in and get a proprietary platform adopted. Microsoft is the only vendor that can pull that off right now. A small company with a proprietary platform is not a great combination, but we have a really great offering that fills a gap for developers."

Laszlo customers include Behr Paints, ISP EarthLink and hotel chain La Quinta Inns.