Tuesday, October 5, 2004
Interview with Paul Colton, Founder of XAMLON
Paul Colton is the founder of Xamlon, a new company out of La Jolla which is making waves with its XAML product, used to develop applications for Microsoft .NET and future Microsoft operating systems. The company introduced its first release of its XAML tool yesterday.
BK: For the uninitiated, what is XAML?
PC: XAML is the XML-based declarative language for defining user interfaces in Avalon. Avalon is the presentation layer of the next version of Windows, code-named "Longhorn". In other words, XAML is a way to build Windows applications in the same way HTML is used to build Web applications.
BK: What are Xamlon's product offerings, and how are they used?
PC: Xamlon is a set of technologies to allow developers to develop and deploy Avalon compatible applications today. The Xamlon 1.0 technology includes:
Runtime Engine-offers a large subset of the Avalon feature set (including XAML and vector graphics) in a small runtime. The engine is .NET 1.1 compatible and runs on any .NET 1.1 platform (Windows 98 - Longhorn)
Visual Designer for VS.NET 2003 - Plug-in for Visual Studio.NET 2003 that allows for visual building of Windows Forms applications and generating XAML which is compatible with both our Runtime Engine and Microsoft's forthcoming Avalon technology.
XamlPad - simple 'Notepad for XAML' application which allows for quick prototyping of XAML-based applications. Also includes ability to import and convert (to XAML) Adobe Illustrator SVG files and Windows Forms C# code.
BK: Why would a developer want to use your XAML tools, versus using Microsoft's development suite?
PC: Microsoft's doesn't yet have any development suite for XAML/Avalon, and Avalon/Longhorn isn't scheduled to be released until late 2006, at the earliest. Xamlon offers a set of XAML solutions today so developers can get started developing and deploying Avalon-compatible applications. That is, they can start using this new paradigm (XAML) for application development and deploy their apps, all the while assuring that when Microsoft eventually releases Avalon, their application will continue to work. In essence, Xamlon gives developers a 2+ year head-start, at a minimum.
BK: Does Microsoft's Longhorn delays affect (positively or negatively) Xamlon?
PC: Microsoft delays to Longhorn and/or Avalon positively affect us as it gives us more opportunity to assure developers that we have a deployable product today, without having to "wait around" for Microsoft's release. We tell our developers, "let us keep up with Microsoft so you don't have to". We'll keep our XAML tools compatible while we wait for their release. Once Microsoft releases their Avalon engine and Longhorn, Xamlon the company will continue to provide tools, resources, support, and training above and beyond Microsoft's offerings well into the future.
BK: What's your own background, and why did you decide to start Xamlon?
PC: I'm a 'serial entrepreneur', as they say. I am concurrently the founder of Photopeer, Inc., a peer-to-peer consumer photo sharing application. Prior to Xamlon and Photopeer, I was the founder of Live Software and the author of JRun, the first commercial Java servlet and JSP engine. Our implementation of JSP (Java Server Pages) was the industry leading implementation, and we learned a lot about declarative programming. When I found out about XAML at the October 2003 PDC conference, I realized that just like JSP, XAML was a technology that needed to be in developers hands today, not when Microsoft was ready to release a new operating system. I secured the domain (Xamlon.com) right at the PDC and began development. One year later we're about to release our 1.0 version, which we're very excited about.