Platform-as-a-service provider Rollbase launched today, marketing its offerings as web-based software geared toward small- and medium-sized businesses. While the PaaS terminology conjures up images of Rollbase competing with something like Force.com or Bungee Labs, Rollbase is gunning for the same users as Coghead.
Rollbase allows business users to upload their data to its servers (which are hosted by OpSource) and then “build” applications to make that data useful. The process of building basically consists of dragging and dropping forms and tools on the page, but tech-savvy users can also add their own code for more customization.
What’s amazing to me is the rapid evolution from hosted applications such as Salesforce.com and hosted computing services such as Amazon.com’s Cloud Computing and S3 to hosted development environments such as Bungee Labs. And now here comes services such as those of Rollbase and Coghead, which obviate the need for programmers altogether. At least in smaller offices and internal business units. I don’t see Oracle or SAP giving up the ghost anytime soon.
Much like easy blogging tools have allowed anyone to be a publisher, I’ll be curious to see how tools like Rollbase and Coghead change the business of building code. It may no longer be enough to deliver software as a service, it may have to be infinitely customizable as well.