Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

AppJet users look to migrate apps

Category: Announcements

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The team behind AppJet and the successful EtherPad have announced that they are discontinuing the hosting of AppJet applications. This is a shame, as the server side JavaScript programming module makes writing certain back ends a breeze, as they showed with EtherPad itself!

I hope that it will rise again, just as I hope that Concorde will fly again some day. In the letter to the community, Aaron Iba discusses why this decision was made, and options that you have to migrate. The timing is good in that AppJet runs on Rhino which runs on App Engine, so there is hope to port over there in short order. Here is Aarons letter:

Dear AppJet Community,

This is a notice that we are discontinuing the free appjet.net hosting service on July
1st,
2009, so that we can focus on EtherPad. We are
sorry that we have to do this, but we believe it is the best thing to do for both our
EtherPad users and our appjet hosting users.

We initially developed EtherPad as a technology demo of the next generation of
the AppJet platform, AppJet 2.0. Historically, many of the best developer tools
have emerged symbiotically from applications that used them. This was our
strategy with EtherPad and AppJet 2.0.

We expected EtherPad to be an impressive showcase of our technology, but we did not
expect hundreds of businesses to write us asking to pay for a pro version. It turns
out that EtherPad has some killer use cases for businesses and professional software
developers: getting everyone (literally) on the same page, whether it’s meeting notes
or API definitions.

As EtherPad usage grows, we are continuing to develop the new AppJet platform alongside it.
Since much of the core technology and new architecture of EtherPad revolves around
making it really realtime, the AppJet platform has evolved into what can best be described
as a new javascript platform for realtime web apps. But this new AppJet platform has
diverged significantly from the original appjet 1.0 for which we provide free hosting.
Eventually, we may release the new AppJet platform as a standalone product, but until then,
we do not have the resources to support the legacy version of the platform.

If you are interested in keeping your app online in some form, you have some options. The
simplest way to keep your app running with minimal work is to download AppJet in a Jar and find another place to host
your app using that. The downside of AppJet in a Jar is that it requires a dedicated machine
or VPS with root access. Another alternative is Google App Engine, which has recently
released support for Java. You can run JavaScript on top of App Engine using Rhino (See here and here for more info).

We have started a new forum for discussing migration options, and we encourage
you to share your thoughts and ideas here.

From the whole AppJet Team, we wish you you the best with all your future
programming endeavors.

Sincerely,

Aaron Iba
CEO, AppJet Inc.

I know it was a tough decision for them, and we thank them for their innovation in this area. We look forward to seeing more via EtherPad and other things they cook up.

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Posted by Dion Almaer at 3:32 am
4 Comments

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This seems a very sensible way to announce closing of a popular service. I think it is so easy because they see a good stream of revenue from another place and they can afford this stepwise transition. It also gives many others with the resources to try their hand at hosting a popular code base with a huge list of users.
If I had the cash to spare for a VPS, I’d definitely take this opportunity to take a platform for free and run it on my server, getting a feel of how a real community is handled, first hand.
This is in some ways a very good development. Just a few good guys with some time and cash to spare must look into it and things might be better than the present. Of course, YMMV.

Comment by davesrc — June 2, 2009

Sad to see AppJet go.

I’m working with Joyent, and we are working hard to re-launch Reasonably Smart very soon. If you are interested in a preview, and you missed his JSConf talk, James A. Duncan will be giving a talk about Smart next week in Vancouver:

http://www.openwebvancouver.ca/node/31

Comment by jimpick — June 2, 2009

With the help of the AppJet community I have setup an AppJet clone including the Web IDE and all whats needed to run AppJet apps. It is still pre-beta, but existing programs should run unmodified. If you have invested some work and need to keep it running in the cloud, consider hosting it for free on http://apps.jgate.de .

Comment by dvbportal — June 3, 2009

Hello,

This is just totally crap for people like me, who don’t want the overhead of managing an entire platform’s worth of website, but are happy with a single page of server-side you can edit in a browser.

Joyent – please make me a way into Smart Platform that doesn’t require “git push”, but “save”.

JGate – why have you already gone down? *heart breaking sounds*

I had a fuller reaction when they announced this – http://jaybyjayfresh.com/2009/06/02/appjet-make-boo-boo-they-closed/

J.

J.

Comment by jnthnlstr — July 6, 2009

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