Joyent to Buy Open-source Google App Engine Competitor

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Cloud-computing platform vendor Joyent said Wednesday it is buying startup Reasonably Smart, a maker of a "direct, open-source competitor" to Google's App Engine framework for quickly building and deploying Web applications that run on Google's infrastructure.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Like Amazon Web Services and others, the Quebec-based Joyent sells scalable computing infrastructure. Reasonably Smart's toolset will provide its customers with a "write-once/scale forever" Web application framework, according to a statement

The open-source software will be available through a paid service from Joyent, but users can also install it in their own data centers if they choose, Joyent said.

Along with big players like Google's App Engine, the Reasonably Smart software will compete with Web application platforms from startups like 10gen, which is also open-source.

Reasonably Smart's platform has developers create user interface elements in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), write server-side code with JavaScript and use the open-source Git version control system, according to its Web site.

JavaScript is a widely used client-side language on the Web. But on the server side, it may "still be considered a scripting language that would need to stand on the shoulders of 'real' server-side languages like Java, .Net, PHP, et cetera," said Michael Coté, an analyst with Redmonk.

But one Ann Arbor, Michigan, developer who works with JavaScript extensively said the language has clear strengths.

"One of the things that's great about JavaScript is that the learning curve is very smooth," said Charles Lowell, president and co-founder of The FrontSide Software, a custom software development firm. "I like its simplicity and its stripped-down nature, but as you get into it, you find it's deeply extensible."

Meanwhile, Reasonably Smart's code will likely be further refined, as it is currently in alpha.

Joyent is a little further along. Formed in 2004, the Sausalito, California, company has more than 10,000 customers of all sizes, and its systems run 25 percent of the application traffic on Facebook, according to a statement.

Company representatives could immediately not be reached for additional comment Wednesday.

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