InfoQ had a small Q&A with Mihai Roman from the Erbix Team, regarding their offering:
InfoQ: Could you give us an architectural overview of how Erbix is setup and how an application is structured?
All accounts are isolated from each other and cannot share resources directly. Each account has the following resources:
- a dedicated PostgreSQL database (for storing apps data)
- a list of sites, each describing how URL prefix paths are mapped to JS entry point functions (we use the CommonJS JSGI 0.3 standard as entry-points).
Several module files can be packed into an application folder. By adding in that folder a CommonJS Packages 1.0 specs file (application.json) it can then be published to the Erbix Marketplace and shared with others.
Apps from the Marketplace can be installed in two ways (the publisher has the option to choose one or both possibilities):
- copy files into account
- run app directly from the Marketplace
Unlike Akshell or AppJet (currently hosted by JGate), Erbix provides the tools to create fully fledged web applications. The dedicated PostgreSQL database is accessible by the means of an SQL console or programaticaly with full SQL support; a feature found only in Erbix.
InfoQ: What is the typical workflow for developing, debugging, testing, deploying and monitoring an app in Erbix?
Files and folders can be created using the online editor or can be uploaded easily. Folders can be uploaded/downloaded from/to a .zip or .tar.gz archive. Future source versioning support may be added. So users can choose to create the apps online on Erbix.com or offline in their IDE of choice.
Apps are deployed instantly by mapping an URL prefix to the JSGI entry point function.
Unit testing and logging modules are available for debugging and monitoring purposes. We are currently working on improving these features/modules.
InfoQ: What are the common use cases you see Erbix being more suitable for?
Erbix is a great environment to create or install apps for small businesses. Erbix is both developer and consumer friendly: we offer to developers excellent productivity tools (marketplace, JS hosting, browser editor) for creating great apps; the customers can easily install the apps from the marketplace and keep control of their data in their own PostgreSQL account.
InfoQ: What is the current status of the service and what is your roadmap for the future?
We are currently in open beta testing. Everyone can log in with OpenID and start using the service. We are running www.erbix.com as an Erbix app, we've built two apps by only using the online editor and we expect to get out of beta in the next major release.
We are working on improving many aspects of the platform:
- usability (make it more intuitive for non technical users)
- UI support for custom domain names
- better dynamic resource scaling (handle traffic peaks)
Meanwhile, part of our team will develop production-ready apps that will be published on the Marketplace for everyone to use and customize.
Erbix marketplace is cool
I like the idea of marketplace a lot. May be it can change the way we think about web apps. Things like custom Wordpress installations finally should be left in the past.