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.