Interview with Kaazing

by Dylan SchiemannMarch 19th, 2008

I had a chance to sit down and talk with Ric Smith of Kaazing and chat about their Comet implementation.

Dylan: Welcome Ric. What is Kaazing and how did Kaazing you get started?

Ric: Jonas Jacobi and John Fallows founded Kaazing. The company was started right after a Comet presentation in New York at AjaxWorld in 2007. The audience overflowed into the hallways. After the talk, we quickly understood the demand and need for a Comet server that addressed the issues of security, reliability, and other features important to enterprises.

Dylan: What types of web apps are people building with Kaazing?

Ric: Initial interest has primarily been in the financial, gaming, and traffic monitoring spaces, the fairly common places most people see Comet today. Basically our clients want us to get as close as possible to real-time across the web, which involves solving the problems of mass scalability, in many ways changing the topology of the network.

Dylan: How you accomplish that?

Ric: We partition connections across multiple resources, use edge servers, doing everything we can to close the gap between the server and the browser, reducing latency over a persistent connection

Dylan: What about the client-side? What toolkits work with Kaazing?

Ric: Um, we work well with Dojo.

Dylan: lol

Ric: We’re generally toolkit agnostic. On the protocol, we don’t currently use Bayeux, but our approach is modeled exactly after Bayeux, but we use Server Sent Events for transport.

Dylan: How do you get Server sent events working anywhere besides Opera?

Ric: Currently we wrap that approach with JavaScript, but we’ll switch to native support as we get more widespread browser adoption.

Dylan: What was appealing to you about SSE?

Ric: SSE doesn’t meet all of our needs, Bayeux was a close approximation, but we didn’t want all of the content delivery within the http message… so Bayeux with a little bit of a header-based approach was more ideal for us.

Dylan: Sounds like we should talk some more. Are you familiar with the Battle of the Bayeux discussion we had recently, and if so, where does Kaazing fall in this debate?

Ric: We’re somewhere in the middle. Meaning that we see the value of both extremes, so we want something in that takes the best of both worlds, as described above.

Dylan: What differentiates Kaazing from its competitors?

Ric: Comet space is so fragmented currently that people don’t yet know much about the space. This is something that really makes Comet Daily a great resource. In terms of our approach, we split async processing and business logic into separate processes when compared with something like Jetty. We find this to be more efficient as it removes the load from your normal application logic.

Dylan: How do I use Kaazing?

Ric: Currently there’s a private beta. Evaluate, test it out, see if you like it, etc.

Dylan: Has the adoption or demand surprised you?

Ric: It has, we get phone calls everyday from customers interested in filling this use case. At the same time, it’s much harder to talk one on one and find people educated on Comet, because most people aren’t yet familiar with Comet.

Dylan: That reminds me of our Comet mindshare article.

Ric: Yes, definitely. It’s such a subtle nuance that if Comet is working well, your users don’t know it’s there, you just have a very responsive app.

Dylan: Predict the future of Comet in a year or two. What do you expect?

Ric: Comet in general is probably going to become a communications hub for anything. What is the protocol going to look like for all of these applications, whatever they are written in? Modified Bayeux, SSE, some hybrid of all?

Dylan: Thanks for your time. For more information on Kaazing, visit kaazing.com

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