Alex Barnett blog


June 2009 - Posts

Federated Apps on the Intuit Partner Platform

So what have I been working on since joining Intuit? A bunch of stuff, but something I wanted to shout about is the release of “Federated Applications” on the Intuit Partner Platform.

Working closely with five new developers to Intuit's Platform as a Service (PaaS), VerticalResponse, DimDim, Rypple, Setster, and ExpenseWare, we've got some kick-ass apps federated into the platform.

Some nice coverage so far this morning, including:

Ben Kepes, CloudAve Intuit Launches the IPP Version 2

"After the briefing I have to say that it looks to me like IPP is finally offering to fulfil the promise of the end-to-end integrated small business software platform that I’ve been evangelising for a few years now – my catch cry of late has been that application integration should only be seen as the very first step in building a SaaS ecosystem. Much more important is the aggregation of applications. This may be data aggregation, UI aggregation, sign-on integration or billing integration – and ideally users and vendors would determine what parts of the integration they bought into."

Leena Rao at TechCrunch - Intuit’s Partner Platform Goes Multilingual With Federated Apps

“The “Federated Applications” functionality lets developers who have existing SaaS applications that are built with any programming language, database or cloud computing platform publish their apps on Intuit Marketplace. Applications won’t have to be rewritten to conform to QuickBooks but will instead go through a minor configuration process.”

Phil Wainewright, ZDNet: Intuit makes two-pronged PaaS and SaaS push

“The significant element of Intuit’s PaaS announcement is that it is a land-grab to capture mindshare among developers on other cloud platforms, who can take their AppEngine, Amazon Web Services or self-hosted applications and make them available using Intuit’s single sign-on, billing and QuickBooks integration infrastructure. Market reach being one of the key attributes developers look for in a new platform, perhaps the most appealing factor is that applications will be showcased within the Intuit Marketplace, with a potential reach to the four-million-strong installed base of QuickBooks accounting software customers and their estimated 25 million employees.”

What I've found very cool about this new Federated Apps capability for IPP is that fact that these different SaaS apps are developed on a variety of stacks and hosted outside of the IPP platform.. One of the apps is built on Java. Another is built enirely on .NET. Another is a mix of RoR and LAMP. Another built of Flex (on their own hosting environment - not IPP). If an app was running on EC2, that would work too, as would an app built on Google's AppEngine. It doen't matter - the integration points for Federated Apps are just that and pretty lightweight (one of the partners was able to turnaround the work with 1 developer in less than two weeks, including time for the technical review of the app). We made a deliberate decision to make IPP agnostic to the technology that developers want to use. Yes, we have a "native" stack also, but the options we are providing developers now means there is no technology lock-in to speak of.

Here is some more information on the details of federation and how you as a developer can get started.

Oh, and a quick plug on the talk I'll be giving on how to federate applications to IPP at the Startups and the Cloud event next week in the Boston area.

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