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OpenLaszlo under a Bushel?

A reader from Germany writes:

Laszlo has to sell products and make money, but I think the OpenLaszlo platform has lost in priority with the current management. Not money-wise (how much money they spend on it), but seeing it as a marketing-vehicle for the company. I would love to see more DHTML apps, that would really convince people of the dual-runtime power.

Gentle Reader:

I look at it this way: OpenLaszlo is practically a separate entity. Laszlo is our main sponsor, so we mostly do what they ask. But, we do have other sponsors: directly, others through support contracts. So they also get attention. Community stuff comes last, because that has no $ attached to it. But community leaders can be given commit privileges and see their goals achieved directly.

While OpenLaszlo is a valuable technology base, the company can’t make (as much) money off of it as they can with a proprietary product. Laszlo is doing kind of the same thing as Apple: adding proprietary value to an open-source base. And, we like that, because it means they can “donate” more money to the OpenLaszlo team. :)

Laszlo is a venture-backed company, and venture capitalists are all about making money. They pretty much only see as far as the Webtop licenses. But the management has been made well aware of how the community has made the base they build on much more solid than what they would get with a closed source.

As to DHTML applications, in reality, swf9 is so different from swf8, that is the more convincing port to me! swf8 and DHTML are only different in their UI model, the Javascript is 99% the same. To do swf9, we really had to re-engineer the guts of the whole tag compiler and script compiler, to implement a lot of Javascript 2 (Harmony) and then compile down to Javascript 1 for swf8 and DHTML.

We knew it would be a lot of work, but we knew if we could do it, we would really prove we had a platform-independent language in LZX, and we ended up with a much more robust system in the end.

There is a rule of thumb: 2 ports does not make you platform-independent, it is the 3rd that is the test!

In the end, we were very pleased that we were able to keep nearly all the dynamicity of LZX and target a strongly-typed, much more static platform. The strong-typing and ‘true’ classes of Javascript 2 have given significant performance gains (some claim a speed-up of 5-6 times), but the OpenLaszlo compiler has been able to shield the LZX developer from most of the requirements of declaring types and overrides in their LZX code and has been able to keep dynamic features like <state>s and constraints.

Let me conclude by saying, overall you are right. OpenLaszlo needs more publicity, whether for Laszlo as a company, or just for it’s own growth. Let’s hope this little post can help it along the way…

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