Cool alert: Zude, Visual development environment for the Web (adds OpenSocial support)

I just witnessed a development environment that’s completely different than anything I’ve ever seen.

Steve Repetti, CTO of Fifth Generation Systems, which is the author of Zude. Now, if you haven’t seen Zude before, that’s pretty cool in of itself. It’s like MySpace, PopFly, Facebook, and a bunch of other things mashed all together. Steve calls it the “next generation of social computing.”

But today he was here to let me look under the covers of Zude and show me the development side of Zude.

There was so much that I kept shooting with my cell phone. This is simply amazing. I can’t say enough about what this tool is trying to do.

Drag-and-drop development of Web apps.

Here’s the five videos.

Part I 4:50, introduction to Zude and to the development capabilities of such.
Part II 11:52, talking about data portability.
Part III 5:06, looking more at the canvas and what can be done with code objects. More details on the Open Social capabilities.
Part IV 9:33, finishing off the app and distributing it.
Part V. 5:12, just having fun and throwing out ideas.

This is the first time these capabilities have been demonstrated in public. So, what did Steve show me, just in case you don’t have time to view the videos?

First, Zude is a canvas where you can drag and drop all sorts of stuff: videos, maps, images, blogs, RSS feeds, whole Web sites, text, links, code, MySpace themes, and almost any kind of thing you can imagine.

But, on this demo Steve focused on the code.

Went over to Google’s Gadgets site, found some interesting code, dragged it onto Zude and it instantly turned into a fish tank, with swimming fish. What? How did it %^&^%$%^& do that?

He did it with something else. This time a whole tile, with names, and addresses and photos appeared. OK, he has my attention.

Keep in mind, this works on Firefox, Safari, IE on Linux, Macs, or Windows. No install. Just visit and get started. Just click on the Tools menu, developer selection.

You can try it yourself.

But it just gets better from there. He also showed me a Facebook app that supported Open Social that they built. It shows that they are pushing Open Social data from Zude into Facebook. They are also doing it through a PHP proxy that lets them deliver ANY server-side language into Facebook. In the case on the video they are using FBML on the Facebook side and on the canvas app.

He showed me a separate tile on Zude that was a default object in Zude. Friends and Family thumbnail. There are a ton of default objects in Zude. He dragged that to the canvas and his friend’s picture and name appeared, along with other data. He also demonstrated the security built into Open Social, so if people didn’t want their info available to the Open Social app they could block it.

Then he showed me a bunch of objects that he dragged out, and demoed how you can build and deploy a really interesting Web app in just a few minutes. I can’t do this justice in a text blog. You have to see this.

We’ll do another interview on our Hi-def cameras, but that won’t be until late April at the earliest (we’re booked). Either way, these low-quality videos will give you a sense of why this is so impressive and will help you get started playing around.


Johnson and Johnson “breaks into jail” with BabyCamp

When I worked at Microsoft the PR team had a saying they told me often: “don’t break into jail.”

In other words, don’t screw up a good thing. Or, don’t do something that’ll get you bad PR.

Which is just what Johnson and Johnson did over the past week.

They are throwing a “BabyCamp” for mommy bloggers. Sounds great, right?

But a couple of problems.

1. You can’t bring your baby. Dumb.
2. They scheduled it at the same time as BlogHer. Double dumb.
3. They disinvited a couple of bloggers, one who had a baby, and another who was speaking at Blogher. Triple dumb.

Maryam wraps up the mess and explains what’s going on now. I’m Maryam’s husband and she’s decided to go to BabyCamp with her mom, who’ll take care of Milan while she attends sessions and such (her mom did the same while Maryam worked at CES’s BlogHaus, it’s a real advantage to have someone like that).

Speaking of which, I hate saying “Maryam’s my wife.” Sounds like I own her or something. Truth is actually the reverse. 🙂

Google about to drop the other Enterprise shoe on Microsoft?

I’m hearing about a few things that Google is planning to do to newly compete with Microsoft’s enterprise offerings.

Several people have told me about an offline version of Gmail, coming soon.
Other people say that Google, or a company working with Google, is going to come out with a new server that will let corporations replace their Exchange servers with ones made by Google. Both groups told me under condition that I not reveal who they are.

Now, it might be that my sources are pulling my legs, but I don’t think so. The news is coming from too many different places. I’m reporting this to explain that Google seems like it’s about to apply more pressure in the enterprise space and see if anything else is happening that I don’t know about. The audience here is far smarter and far more connected than I am.

From what I hear we won’t have to wait for Google’s next developer conference to see some of these things come out, although that’s not too far off either.

But what are you hearing?