The basic goal of Web 2.0 applications is to provide the user experience of a desktop application on the Web. As we all know from using Ajax and RIA applications, it's possible to get fairly close. As developers who have built such applications know, it can be hard to get them right.
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."