Microsoft Dumps Access Developers


In my early days as a developer, and soon after dBase became irrelevant, Microsoft Access was my primary tool of trade. It offered a relatively easy database and tools for creating forms and reports fast. Developers like me took advantage of it and an untold number of apps were developed, some of them still in use.

Then came the internet and Access wasn’t ready for the job. Yes, you could build web apps on Access but it was slow for large data sets, took too much server resources, didn’t perform well in multi-user environments, was not secure and just didn’t meet the requirements of web apps. MySQL gradually became the database of choice for most web developers.

Now Access 2010 is released, but it is still beating a drum that is different from what mainstream Access developers want to hear. Sure, you can make apps for SharePoint, but how many people are building apps exclusively for SharePoint?

Online databases are now all the rage and Access simply isn’t one. Our Caspio online database has most functionality available in Access but it lets users build highly scalable, multi-user web forms, reports and apps that can be deployed to any website, including SharePoint. On top of that, no programming is required.

Microsoft’s lack of interest in making Access more suitable for the web is understandable. It suffers from conflict of interests. By making Access better for the web, it would compete too much with Microsoft’s more profitable SQL Server. Microsoft online database strategy is SQL Azure and they are working hard to bring developers to it. Microsoft wants Access developers forget about Access and get going with Azure. However, SQL Azure is too complex and too expensive for the market that Access was serving.

Such an iconic application is stagnating without a clear direction for the future. Now that Microsoft Access 2010 is out it appears that the days of Access are over.

Access users of the world! Do not lament. Online databases are ready to serve you in such ways that Access was never able to. Caspio is certainly setup to help Access developers migrate their old apps to the web and build new ones fast and with confidence that their skills, experiences and knowledge are completely transferable to the Caspio platform.

Come check us out!

How Do You Pay for Your Platform-as-a-Service?


It astonishes me to see that except for Caspio all platform-as-a-service (PaaS) providers base their pricing on a per-user basis.

Before PaaS came into existence, people had to write code to make apps. You write the code, you own the app and you can have it used by as many people as you want. You only have to worry about adequate infrastructure to support your users.

PaaS makes the infrastructure an on-demand service. In the case of Caspio it also eliminates programming. However, with or without code, you still create your apps in a PaaS environment.

It seems unreasonable to pay the PaaS vendor for each of your users. A usage based pricing is more appropriate. That’s what Caspio has been doing since 2001.

Pricing models remnant of traditional desktop and enterprise software are stuck in the past. Usage based pricing must be the norm rather than the exception.

Caspio Celebrates 10 Years of Cloud Innovation


anniversary-sealTen years ago about this time I terminated my early retirement to get back to the startup world to work on my vision of a code-free application development platform.

A year later Caspio Bridge 1.0 hit the market. It was a modest start, but we had built a Microsoft Access equivalent for the web. Initially the backend was an Oracle database and the middle tier was in Visual Basic. But the front-end was the most sophisticated AJAX user interface anywhere.

Most importantly, it delivered on the promise of allowing users to build web forms and searchable databases quickly and without coding. Our still-unique JavaScript deployment model meant that users could place these forms and apps on their own websites while Caspio remained their database and application engine entirely behind the scene.

The first release of Caspio Bridge went live in 2001. Since then we have kept improving the platform by adding capabilities that our customers have asked us to add. We have certified the platform in several ways including PCI certification that Microsoft Azure lacks, and have made it perhaps the most robust platform for building web applications available anywhere.

Today we power over 300,000 apps for companies as large as Fortune-500 conglomerates to small one-person shops, universities, government agencies and non-profits in the US and over 40 other countries. Caspio is the de facto standard in the online news category where over 80% of the largest American newspaper websites use Caspio to build community applications, publish government and local data and to accept citizen submissions and feedbacks.

I contribute our accomplishments to mainly two factors. First is perseverance. Caspio survived two economic downturns and initially slow customer adoption, but we persevered. In our guts we knew this is the future, it’s just that we are early. The second factor is that we never raised any external financing. To date Caspio is free from Venture Capital investment. We don’t even lease equipment. Our operation is entirely funded by our own revenues. We have no “run-way” that is about to end. This gives us the freedom to do what we must do, and that is serving our customers. Some of the competitors who raised VC funding are no longer around, because when going got tough, VC’s backed out and the company was shut down.

Caspio is now stronger than ever before. We feel that we’re just warming up. The world has begun to notice and understand the concept of Cloud Computing. Companies of all sizes realize that they need to establish their own cloud strategy. It’s exciting times for Caspio which has been working on this vision for 10 years.