VMware buys WaveMaker, aims to ease app development

The acquisition is aimed at making it easier for non-developers to build Web apps

VMware said on Tuesday it had acquired WaveMaker, the creator of open-source software that lets non-developers build Java Web applications.

WaveMaker is built on the Spring programming model created by SpringSource, which VMware acquired a year-and-a-half ago. "WaveMaker takes the Spring programming model and everything underneath it and abstracts it into a tool, so you don't have to know what's going on behind it," said Mark Brewer, vice president of operations for VMware's Spring business unit.

It's a graphical tool that lets users drag and drop to create a Web app. Users of the software can deploy their apps directly to an internal cloud or to a variety of other platforms, including Amazon, Rackspace, OpSource and Eucalyptus. The software runs on Windows, Mac OS, Red Hat, Ubuntu and other operating systems and supports databases including MySQL and Microsoft's SQL Server.

WaveMaker users typically are people in a business who are not developers but who want to build a Web app, usually one featuring forms. One of the most common uses is to build a page that lets end-users enter a credit card to purchase a product, Brewer said.

But there are other uses, too. The department store Macy's is a WaveMaker customer and used it to build an internal application that pulls together a variety of reports on business functions such as financial and human resources data, he said.

VMware hopes the acquisition will help it encourage even more users of cloud services. "We said, 'if we're going to catapult ourselves into the cloud and help customers build apps that will run in the cloud, we need to attract that early adopter who is not a programmer, who wants to simply write an application,'" Brewer said.

VMware plans to keep offering WaveMaker under an open-source license, Brewer said. It will sell support services such as training and consulting.

In addition, VMware envisions adding WaveMaker to its Code2Cloud service so customers can use WaveMaker as a service rather than downloading the software. Code2Cloud is a hosted application lifecycle management service that supports developers as they move through building, testing, bug-tracking and integration testing. VMware expects to add WaveMaker to Code2Cloud in the next couple of months, Brewer said.

The companies did not disclose terms of the deal. Employees of WaveMaker, which is based in San Francisco, will join VMware.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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