Progress Software and the bet with Node.js after Modulus acquisition #AppsWorld

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

Matt Robinson, VP technology at Progress Software, explains to CloudTech why the company is betting on Node.js with the acquisition of PaaS provider Modulus.

The deal, announced earlier this week, aims to put progress in the enviable position of offering an industry-beating cloud, mobile, hybrid and on-premise development capability – and according to Robinson, the growth of Node.js, and JavaScript in general, makes this move a no-brainer.

“Modulus is a real purpose built platform for Node developers,” he explains. “We talked to prospects and customers of Modulus and they all say similar feedback of ‘it’s just a natural experience for us to go in and deploy their applications and scale them really easily from a simple user interface.’

“It gives us a way to really attach ourselves to this very fast moving emergent technology,” he adds.

Robinson arrived at Progress after being CEO at rapid app development firm Rollbase, which was acquired in June 2013, and he noted the difference in approach between Rollbase and Modulus.

“Rollbase is a productivity platform,” he explains. “It’s a platform [for] someone who doesn’t know how to write code – you can use drag and drop to build applications.

“Modulus is the other end of the spectrum. It’s basically for developers who, all they want to do, is write code all day long. They need a place to upload and manage this application code, but their day is spent writing code.”

The result is a wide-ranging ecosystem – but it doesn’t stop there. Aside from Node.js Modulus also provides quick and easy scale of MongoDB, hitting into the NoSQL audience.

“With this platform, you can build a full stack application from the front end user interface all the way down to the backend database, entirely in JavaScript,” says Robinson. “And that’s a beautiful thing, because you have so many people who know JavaScript and they don’t have to learn new languages to build full stack applications.”

Before Robinson joined the company, Progress had affirmed its desire to sell off a non-core asset and streamline itself further in cloud and mobile. The acquisition of Modulus, Robinson argues, is further proof of this.

He explains: “This is basically us reaffirming our future and investment in being a leading cloud platform vendor.

“Application development and deployment is our focus, and we absolutely want to be a leader in that particular category of cloud-based tooling, to allow developers to build, deploy and manage and scale their applications.

“Anything we can do to build that story out is of high interest to us, and Modulus really plugged a big component of that.”

Progress is a platinum sponsor at Enterprise Apps World on June 17-18, and Robinson notes how the feedback at events helps everyone in the community, from the vendors to the end users.

 “As we’re a platform vendor, we try and make sure we’re on the cutting edge of everything that’s happening in the platform space,” Robinson explains. “We’re interested in making sure we’re looking at as broad a spectrum as possible, companies and what they’re doing, how they’re actually using these technologies.

“We hope to learn how other companies are making these decisions, and ultimately that kind of stuff affects how we build our technology but also how we market it,” he adds.

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