Sunday, October 23, 2011

Web Developer Intern/Co-Op for RunSignUp


RunSignUp provides cloud services to the running community – such as race registration, running club management, coaching services, and running logs.

We are looking for an intern or co-op computer science student with an interest in doing web development.  The ideal candidate will have experience building websites with HTML, CSS, PHP and MySQL.  Web design with tools like Photoshop is also a plus.

You will be working with a small, but highly talented team with deep experience.  This provides a learning opportunity to work with cutting edge web technology like Amazon EC2, social integration with Facebook and Twitter, Mobile app development, Ajax, REST services, etc.

You would work at our office in Philadelphia (20 N 3rd St.) as well as remote (your home/dorm room).

Compensation is dependent on experience, but starts at $20 per hour.  Send me your resume - bob dot bickel at comcast dot net.

Friday, October 7, 2011

CloudBees Open Source Choice


CloudBees is made up of Open Source veterans.  Sacha Labourey was the CTO of JBoss, Kohsuke Kawaguchi is the Founder of Jenkins and Hudson, Michael Neale, Adrian Brock, Ryan Campbell, Paul Sandoz, Harpreet Singh Vivek Pandey, and many others have spent most of their careers developing open source software.  On the business side, David Skok and I are two well known advocates for the open source business model.

It begs the question, why is CloudBees not open source?

The fundamental reason is that our goal is to create a new type of software – that is really consumed as a service.  We feel strongly that open source brought a whole new cost efficiency to using software in the enterprise.  JBoss and Jenkins greatly reduce the cost as compared to previous enterprise software models.  The new Cloud era ushers in new levels of cost savings and increased flexibility.

In short it required a different model, one that is more hybrid in nature.  Still using and contributing to open source projects that can be used in enterprises – we do plenty of this with Jenkins, Tomcat, JBoss, Glassfish, etc.

The Cloud is Different
The Cloud affords the opportunity to drastically reduce operational costs and increase the flexibility.  To get at those, we need to eliminate the overhead of installing, configuring, testing and maintaining many layers of software for each application, department and enterprise.  Eliminating the overhead of multiple versions of infrastructure.  Eliminating costly support contracts with vendors.  Eliminating capital requirements.

In the perfect world of effectiveness, application developers build apps and just deploy them to the Cloud.  No need to have any of the old overhead.

We felt strongly that the open source business model did not fit this new world.  Open source fits well when lots of people will be running lots of versions of the software and making lots of changes to it for their own environment.  This use case is kind of the polar opposite of the Cloud.

Open is Different with the Cloud
The lock-in for Java app servers was not because the application was unable to move, but the investments made in the infrastructure.  Companies had to buy servers, expensive licenses, expensive maintenance contracts, pay high powered people to design the architecture, install and configure the systems.  Create a process for testing, staging, deploying.  The tooling, scripting and environment around this became BEA and IBM's lock-in.  Even JBoss and Spring use EAP, JBoss Network, and tcServer, to lock in the operational aspects.

By outsourcing much of that to the Cloud, companies can step up to a new level of openness.  eXo Cloud-IDE demonstrates how it can do a git deploy to CloudBees, CloudFoundry, OpenShift, Heroku with a simple menu option.  The core competency and investment is in the code.  So if users don't like a Cloud provider, they just point and click and are done moving.

The reduction in operational overhead reduces costs, and the ease of migration ensures competitive costs between Cloud alternatives.

This is a radical departure from the past.  And will take a couple of years for the market to truly understand.  But this new approach will cause companies to look more at the functionality provided than how it is done.

Not to channel Steve Jobs inappropriately, but some of the thoughts of simplicity he brought to the consumer market are being brought to the Enterprise market by new companies with new approaches like CloudBees.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

How Steve Jobs Impacted me


While many people are saddened by the loss of Steve Jobs, it goes just a bit deeper for me


In 1992 I was at a small consulting company that resold software, Bluestone Consulting.  Mel Baiada was the owner and founder, and was famous for dropping lots of articles on my desk that were interesting.  One day he dropped a video tape of Steve Jobs demoing Next.  It was an over-reaching workstation/operating system/development environment.  But it had the by now familiar Steve Jobs elegant simplicity.

The part that fascinated me was a demo of him dragging and dropping a database object like last_name onto a graphical object like a text field for the last name.  Of course Jobs made the demo cool by dragging and dropping graphical objects like a person's picture onto the screen.  Then pushing a button and magically it was an application.  Users of the application could type in a last name and do a search of the database and poof – that person's information would be there, including their photo.

At the time we were reselling a product called UIM/X which allowed developers to create the user interface for an application, much like half of what Next did.  We had also started reselling a product called dbViewer, which provided a quick way to retrieve information from a database.  "Borrowing" from the Steve Jobs video, I decided we needed to create our own product to do the same thing.  Mark Nigro and Scott Pennell joined the company and created the first version of this product.

Shortly after the World Wide Web started (1994-95), we created a totally new version of this product called Sapphire/Web – a visual tool that created one of the first application servers in the market.  That product grew and Bluestone Software eventually spun out of Bluestone Consulting, provided hundreds of jobs and opportunities for people.  Many of those people have gone on to create many more products and services that have created many, many more jobs and created lots of market value.

That whole chain of good things happened because of Steve Jobs.  All of my personal career good fortune goes back to that video.  I am convinced I would not have had the career success I've had without Steve Jobs.

Thank you Steve.