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Scaling a Platform for Device-Agnostic Web Interfaces: Michael Mullany, CEO of Sencha (Part 5)

Posted on Monday, Dec 24th 2012

Sramana: What is the composition of developers who build on your platform? What do you know about them?

Michael Mullany: We do a fair amount of surveys to understand who and where they are. We have a global developer community. We find that we have 10% to 15% of our developers in China, India, and Germany, respectively. The distribution of the community is representative of the distribution of developers worldwide.

The second thing we understand are the types of applications developers are building with our tools and frameworks. The most popular style of application to build is business to business and business to employee, followed by business to consumer applications. We are used very lightly for direct to consumer applications. Very few games or content applications are built on our frameworks although we do have some in each of those categories. You will find our frameworks used in Best Buy’s warehouse system and Dell’s supply chain management system. We are embedded in Salesforce’s Visualforce product. Sencha fits anywhere you need to write complex web interfaces that need to scale well and work in a large team developer environment.

Sramana: Are you developers primarily working for larger companies?

Michael Mullany: We have a lot of large company developers and a lot of development agencies that serve large companies. We have a lot of developers doing SaaS applications in the independent software vendor (ISV) community.

Sramana: Could you talk a bit more about the ISV community? What kind of numbers do you have in that community, and what are the dynamics there?

Michael Mullany: A classic example of a good SaaS provider would be AdMob, which was bought by Google. They used Sencha technologies to build their interfaces. If you wanted to look at analytics or place an ad, all of the interfaces you would have seen were built with Sencha. They chose us because we had clean code, we were very extensible, and we had interfaces that looked good. You don’t have to worry about cross-browser compatibility. That is why companies like SAP use us for some of their applications. They can write once and have consistent interfaces show up on Android, iOS, and Blackberry.

Sramana: What about Visualforce? Are you the front end for that piece?

Michael Mullany: The forms builder within Visualforce is built with our technologies.

Sramana: Are the ISVs building on Force.com automatically being offered Sencha frameworks?

Michael Mullany: No. It is an embedded technology.

Sramana: What are other interesting strategic decisions taken in building this company?

Michael Mullany: The key to our success has been getting out to market first. We shipped our mobile HTML5 SDK in June of 2010. That was right after Steve Jobs came out and said that Flash was dead and HTML5 was the future. The strategic nugget is that getting out first with something that developers are trying to do will give you strategic positioning that is difficult to dislodge. The advantage of a having first-mover presence is significant. A lot of markets tend to freeze if the first company out does a good job because that company becomes the standard that everything else is compared to.

This segment is part 5 in the series : Scaling a Platform for Device-Agnostic Web Interfaces: Michael Mullany, CEO of Sencha
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