Visual WebGui, from Gizmox of Israel, attempts to make developing Web 2.0 applications just like developing Windows Forms applications. It's currently a free, open-source product built on top of ASP.NET on the server, with a DHTML presentation layer on the client. It uses an "empty client" model with a "gateway" channel to the server.
In December, Gizmox CTO Guy Peled posted a teaser blog entry entitled Visual WebGui Will Soon Support Silverlight as its Presentation Layer. Today, Gizmox dropped the other shoe with a press release and an alpha product rollout.
Gizmox is funded by venture capital. How are they going to make money (and a profit for the VCs) with a free open source product? According to the press release:
"Though Visual WebGui browser-based solution is and will remain a free, open-source platform, the company will generate revenue from development partnerships, premium enterprise dedicated controls and components, Silverlight extensions, enhanced scalability, plug-in support, customized development and a market place that will be a third party's (Visual WebGui's community developers) channel for their propriety development and other future added-value products and services," said Mr. Navot Peled, CEO, Visual WebGui. "We will announce the commercial version of Visual WebGui in April 2008."