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NetSuite Takes On Salesforce.com With New Open Standards Dev Platform

By Erika Morphy
Feb 29, 2008 9:04 AM PT

NetSuite has introduced its own version of a development platform -- direct competition for the raft of initiatives and platforms Salesforce.com has designed to entice developers to its product line.

NetSuite Takes On Salesforce.com With New Open Standards Dev Platform

The difference between them, according to NetSuite, is that it based its new platform on open standards, while Salesforce.com chose to use proprietary code.

Let the Games Begin

"This is becoming an interesting contest between NetSuite and Salesforce.com," Marc Songini, an analyst with Nucleus Research, told CRM Buyer.

"One of the arguments Salesforce.com puts forth is that it offers an optimized programming language that is better than the open standards, Java-based platforms," he said.

NetSuite has deliberately picked the opposite approach, he continued, by emphasizing its industry standards-based platform. "The open question is how broad will adoption of Salesforce.com's proprietary platform be?"

Decontructing NS-BOS

NetSuite Business Operating System, or NS-BOS, is a Software as a Service application development platform for software developers, independent software vendors and value-added resellers.

It uses industry standard JavaScript as the basis for its programming capabilities, allowing developers to create applications -- called "suitelets" -- that leverage the NetSuite user interface or a different UI, if desired.

A key component of NS-BOS is the platform's code debugger, which is called "SuiteScript D-Bug." It operates in real-time as third-party applications run on the NetSuite app server. SuiteScript D-Bug uses a metaphor and interface similar to debuggers found in such integrated developer environments as Microsoft Visual Studio.

Other components of NS-BOS:

  • SaaS Infrastructure -- NetSuite's multi-tenant, on-demand architecture
  • Core Business Management Suite -- the NetSuite application is included as part of the NS-BOS application development environment, allowing developers to embed the suite within their applications.
  • SuiteFlex -- NetSuite's platform for customization, verticalization, integration and business process automation includes point-and-click tools, Web services, and the SuiteScript programming language, which is based on the industry standard JavaScript.
  • SuiteBundler -- game-changing capabilities that allow the delivery of ISV-built vertical solutions to SaaS customers in a packaged, repeatable manner.

SuiteScript D-Bug is available now to developers, ISVs and VARs, and will be available to NetSuite customers on a rolling basis from March through May. All other components of NS-BOS are available now.

ISVs that use the version of NS-BOS including the NetSuite application will establish pricing for their new vertical offerings, with NetSuite getting an agreed-upon share of revenue for the base Suite.

ISVs and VARs are already leveraging NS-BOS to offer industry-specific editions of NetSuite for government service contractors, high-volume e-commerce operators and EDI system integrators, according to NetSuite.

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