Technically Speaking

Rex Dixon – Professional BlogCaster

Interview with Benjamin Mestrallet of eXo Platform

Posted by rexdixon on December 30, 2006

UPDATE January 1, 2007http://rexduffdixon.comTechnically Speaking

New Feed URL: http://feeds.feedburner.com/rexduffdixon

Q1: Today we are speaking with Benjamin Mestrallet of eXo Platform. This is a webOS that I talked about briefly right here.  First off, thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. Let’s get started – How long has your company been around? I’m talking about total time here, as in when you came up with the idea or who ever did, and how you came on board with running with it?

Hello Rex, the company was created in November 2003. We sell an Open Source product line that goes from Portal to Enterprise Content Management (ECM). Our products have been deployed in quite large companies and organization mainly in the military market (our first customer was the US department of defense) and in public organization (such as the Venice tourism portal in Italia). The funny thing in our story is that we had customers even before I created the company with Tuan Nguyen!

Hence, we have been around for quite some time, building mission critical application in portal environment where data can be classified and security issues are extremely important. We also leverage the Java Enterprise Edition stack and we collaborate to the Java standards such as the Portlet API or the Java Content Repository which is extremely important for Fortune 500 companies that want to avoid vendor locking.

So we have spent quite some time building a strong server environment and now thanks to technology like AJAX we have been able to apply all our experience on also implementing a powerful and beautiful user interface…but once again this is just the top of the iceberg, building an operating system is a complex and hard work!

Q2: What distinct advantages do you feel your webOS offers over rival webOS startups? I’ve talked about quite a few here on this blog, so make sure you tell the readers exactly “why they should use your exoPlatform webOS” over the other players in the game.

If you look at the existing WebOS on the market that are mainly flash based or with and AJAX front end but a PHP backend. Those are built for quick UI experience and server side work is not the main concern (they maybe hope to be quickly bought by Google :)). Hence integration in existing IT systems will be a big problem if they want to also target the enterprise market.

eXo Enterprise WebOS is taking a different path. We have spent 3 years to build a strong server side platform based on Java standards (Portlet API and Java Content Repository) and we now apply AJAX and other web 2.0 technologies to the UI to provide a strong new paradigm for our existing Portal customers. And they like it, so other portal companies will go that way too (IBM, BEA…) which will make a much faster adoption in the enterprise than we can imagine.

For example the Java Portlet API is used as the backbone for our WebOS windowing framework which allows extensibility, modularity and portability of WebOS applications. Our WebOS File System is based on the Java Content Repository specification which standardizes content structures, search, versioning, locking and export. Furthermore, existing applications like ERP or CRM already have JCA connectors that can be reached in portlets and hence in eXo Enterprise WebOS windows.

Of course pure JavaScript components like MacOS widgets or Vista gadgets are useful, especially for simple mash ups where services are exposed through web services or REST APIs but that is not the case of most enterprise applications (and I do not talk about mainframes). That is why we are also building a widget infrastructure à la MacOS, built as a portlet application to aggregate different existing JavaScript gadgets (Mac OS, Netvibes, Google, vista…).

Hence, for a WebOS to be really used in enterprise, it will have to be based on what corporation already use and are familiar with. The server side makes the difference and it is a huge one if we want to see that type of technology inside medium and large corporation. As we come with a new paradigm, we can not lock user data and applications with new middleware.

That is our main concern when building eXo Enterprise WebOS.

Q3: What would be the main goal of the company in 2007?

We are building a full OS stack from the kernel to the most advanced applications.

We already have the windows while still supporting older portal layouts, we have a strong File System with JCR and we leverage it to build our Enterprise Content Management (ECM) offering. That one includes BPM, DMS, CMS, Records Management and WCM.

Furthermore we are integrating BI solution as we were already doing in our previous web 1.0 portal.

We also work on a full groupware suite that includes forum, email, shared calendar, wiki, contact management and much more.

The only part we are not building yet is the office application like a text editor or a spreadsheet as we look more for an OEM solution. If we don’t find one, we will do it too.

On the business side we have just opened an office in US (Houston) and we truly think that this market will be the main driver for the adoption of WebOS in enterprise.

So as you see we have quite some work for 2007!

Q4: Tell us some more about the company. Are you growing, looking for new people, how many there are currently, etc… Whatever you can release to the public at this time about your company would be great information to share here.

eXo Platform Inc is a profitable venture that employs 35 people in 5 offices in US, Brazil, France, Ukraine and Vietnam.

We are still a private company owned by 4 individuals with no VCs and a huge growth!

Q5: It is truly a fact and a pleasure to interview people that are true cutting edge players. I have loved learning more about every person that I have had these 5 questions interviews with. Once again, thank you Benjamin for taking the time to answer these for the readers here. Now, as usual, it’s your turn – you can say whatever you would like everyone to know that I didn’t cover above.

Thank you Rex for covering such a new market but still a very exiting one!

UPDATE January 1, 2007http://rexduffdixon.comTechnically Speaking

New Feed URL: http://feeds.feedburner.com/rexduffdixon

 

2 Responses to “Interview with Benjamin Mestrallet of eXo Platform”

  1. Azfnfmrc said

    aEwiRp comment2 ,

  2. rahul said

    Hi,

    Very nice article and feeding. thanks a lot.

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