Coghead launches VAR program for online app dev

Affiliate program from one of the first companies to offer a hosted platform for Web 2.0 application development represents yet another shift to the Web

Coghead, one of the first companies to offer a hosted platform for Web 2.0 application development, will announce on Tuesday an affiliate program targeted at VARs (Value Added Resellers), system integrators, and business consultants.

The Affiliate program, according to Paul Salazar, vice president of customer and community development, allows a VAR to become its own instance of Coghead, reselling its platform or the applications developed on it to its customers.

"An affiliate selling a solution could charge $300 per month to use the application," said Salazar.

Coghead charges developers $49 per month for the first five users.

While a targeted solution to solve a particular issue sounds attractive, some see a danger in creating one-off solutions that exist in a silo and remain unattached to the rest of the IT infrastructure.

Salazar says he is aware of the issue.

"Up until now, we had data import and export through Excel and Word only," Salazar said.

However, in the first quarter, Salazar said, Coghead will in fact be announcing a way to connect solutions developed on the Coghead platform to SAP ERP applications.

"We are creating linked applications with SAP within the Coghead UI," said Salazar.

SAP is an investor in Coghead.

"SAP's investment in Coghead is a hedge against NetWeaver not doing well. No reason not to have a diversified portfolio," said Dana Gardner, principal Analyst with Interarbor-Solutions.

Coghead's core business is focused on developers who can use Coghead's Builder platform to create a hosted application for which they pay a monthly fee for creation and for the management of the application once it is deployed.

The visual-based interface allows non-coders to build a program by dragging and dropping in fields and widgets. In the background, a data table is created.

"We are not comprehensive enterprise-class builders. We provide a more simplified approach," said Salazar.

However, that more simplified approach is at the leading edge of a shift in the lifecycle of application development and deployment, according Gardner.

"We are seeing a lot more of the concept of development and deployment as a service," said Garnder.

All the various flavors of application development, including Web applications, widgets, Java applications, .Net applications, and extended enterprise and mash-up applications are starting to find an online model.

This includes accessing the tools through a browser as well as the entire IDE (Integrated Development Environment).

The reason, says Gardner, is the fact that Web-based tools no longer offer slow interfaces, in part the result of Internet applications like Ajax and the prevalence of content delivery networks.

"These technologies have solved a great deal of the interface issue when it comes to doing application development through a browser," Gardner said.

Coghead is accepting a limited number of charter members to the Affiliate Program prior to it going live in the first quarter of 2008.

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