I haven’t exactly been the most prolific blogger as of late. As some of you know from talking with me (or reading my tweets), we’ve been really heads down and focused over at StarPound these days – working very diligently on something – actually many things. But one of them is the latest release of StarPound CORE 1.2 GA (General Availability). I had actually been drafting this email for sometime, but was prompted to finish it when I received an “anonymous” Skribit suggestion from someone asking for an update on StarPound.
What is it?
If you aren’t familiar with StarPound CORE, it is a software development platform that allows you to visually “model” a business process, web service, voice service, or web application. That visual model is then deployed onto StarPound Application Server running in the cloud where it becomes a live web or voice service. If you want to make a change to the application, you change the business process model behind it, not necessarily the actual code. We’ve built the StarPound platform primarily around the BPMN standard, although we’ve extended it to better support web services and VOIP/SIP call control. The whole platform is built with Java/J2EE, and is over 1.2 million lines of code and counting …
StarPound Studio, our visual application modeling tool, is built on top of the Eclipse open-source project (another amazing innovation in and of itself). We’ve added a number of really cool features in this release. Besides updating our build to support the Ganymede edition of Eclipse, we’ve also added support for using Java Beans as BDDs (Business Data Documents).
Another really nifty feature in the latest release of StarPound Studio is our “visual expression builder” for decision gates. In past releases, if you wanted to create a complex set of decision criteria in a business process flow, you had to stub in custom Java code. Functional, yes; but a pain in the rear end. Our new expression builder simplifies this process, and tightly couples the decision criteria to the business data in the model.
On the server side, I am really excited about announcing our initial support for FreeSwitch. FreeSwitch is a free open-source alternative to commercial telephony switching environments (as well as Asterisk, another very popular open-source platform). We have done extensive testing with FreeSwitch, and are quite pleased with the performance and scalability. Providing support for FreeSwitch extends our vision to be platform agnostic as it pertains to the underlying switching mechanism.
We’ve also made a ton of other enhancements in this latest release, mostly around call handling, work item/work flow, and usability. A number of improvements have also gone into our open source call center and PBX applications, which we’re also excited about, as these tools provide very scalable open solutions as alternatives to more expensive offerings from players such as Avaya, Cisco, etc.
Another huge step for us this past quarter was our announcement of our successful deployments of StarPound within the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). What do you get when you combine StarPound with the EC2? How about full-featured call center capabilities for a tiny fraction of the cost per month of a typical commercial solution? How about an incredibly affordable realtime cloud of active business processes that govern all of your warehouse and inventory activities? The possibilities (as we’re now finding) are endless.
However, the thing I am most excited about is the traction we’re getting with enterprise customers. While I desperately wish I could talk about them openly here, I can’t. Needless to say we are in knee deep with some pretty big customer engagements. And if that weren’t enough, we’re also hard at work on our next-generation unified communications portal (codenamed “Hannibal”), a really sexy browser-based softphone, a metric-based framework for analyzing business processes and web services in the cloud, an extended developer API, developer network web site (DevNet), extending StarPound Studio with downloadable “palette packs”, and a series of how-to video tutorials.
So, as you can see, it has been pretty quiet lately around our office … :)
More soon …