“Ruby is the language of the cloud 2″
Computerweekly has a fuller version:
“Ruby is the language of Cloud 2 [applications for real-time mobile and social platforms]. Developers love Ruby. it’s a huge advancement,” said Benioff. “It offers rapid development, productive programming, mobile and social apps and massive scale. We could move the whole industry to Ruby on Rails.”
Apart from conflating Ruby on Rails the development framework with Ruby the programming language, something which many Ruby developers hate, but which its easy to slip into (so easy i slipped into it yesterday) Benioff was clearly not talking the language of the line of business, but rather of technology.
It seems to me we’re witnessing a sea-change at the moment. Many of the commentariat, industry analysts and so on, still seem to think the purchaser is king – that IT will simply be bypassed by savvy business users. But what about developers? We are currently emerging, blinking, from a dark period when many enterprises, and their advisors, truly believed we could just draw up a business process diagram and ship it offshore for coding by commodity developers. There was a Taylorist view of software development, an artefact of Waterfall development. But the model was broken. Innovation comes from code, and code comes from software developers. Coding is social. The idea developers are a commodity is as broken as the notion that a free market consists of independent actors making independent decisions that always lead to better outcomes. We are people, we are herds, we might as well be wildebeests. Well Benioff wants to be the alpha male, showing the way to the next watering hole. He isn’t alone.
I wrote a couple of months ago about a bravura performance from VMWare CEO Paul Maritz. He said:
“Developers are moving to Django and Rails. Developers like to focus on what’s important to them. Open frameworks are the foundation for new enterprise application development going forward. By and large developers no longer write windows or Linux apps. Rails developers don’t care about the OS – they’re more interested in data models and how to construct the UI.”
And this was an IT Operations audience!
The bottom line is this – if we’re really going to consumerise enterprise IT then that means developerising it (please excuse the hideous neologism). Just try and find me a successful consumer tech company which hasn’t fostered amazing, more often that not local, relationships with software developers. The old model was busted. Great users experiences generally come from developers and designers working closely together. That’s the bottom line. We all owe Apple a debt for helping business owners to understand the value of developers.
It seems to me that Benioff and Maritz are reflecting a powerful change. As I said yesterday:
Salesforce avoids IT to sell to the business, while Heroku avoids IT to sell to developers
Powerful macro forces are at work, driven by the cloud, the appstore, open source, social media and so on. CEOs need to get a lot more developer savvy. Its not enough to pimp your own apps and APIs, you need to embrace the herd. Maritz and Benioff are wise to that. Developerforce. Yup.
disclosure: salesforce and vmware are both clients.
further notes: in RedMonk parlance dorks, geeks and nerds are good things. we are all about the makers.