Intuit Reaches Out To Open Source Community

Looking to expand the reach of its popular QuickBooks software, Inuit this week has launched an open source effort.

By launching, Intuit said it is looking to bring developers to build cloud and online applications for its base of small customers. The open source effort is based on Intuit's new Federated Application platform, launched in June, which allows developers to write software-as-a-service apps in key programming languages including Java, .NET, PHP, Ruby and others.

The company's goal is to enable developers to bridge Quickbooks, used by millions of small businesses, to other applications, said Alex Barnett, Intuit's group manager of developer relations.

"We are opening up open source to further enable developers to be able to integrate out of the platform and work together," Barnett said in an interview.  "Ultimately what we are trying to do is get great applications to solve real business problems out to market to the Intuit Partner Platform and the open source community is a means to that end."

The move shows a growing number of providers of proprietary software extending into the open source world, said 451 Group analyst Matthew Aslett. "We expect to see more proprietary companies taking a strategic decision to encourage an ecosystem of open source applications and developers to congregate around their proprietary software platform," Aslett said in an email.

At the heart of its open source offering is IPP Developer Toolkits, which consist of libraries and sample code for the Intuit Partner platform. Toolkits under development currently include those based on .NET, Java, Ruby, J2ME, and the iPhone, among others, according to Intuit.

"If you have a federated application, it makes it not just easier to just to do the federation or the integration points but the point is to make it dead easy to be able to program the data, we expose through the API," Barnett said. "So you can now integrate the data in the cloud from the customer."

Also on, is IPP Federated Authentication, which provides federated authentication based on SAML, Princeussie for Flex, and IPP Deployer. The latter is an effort in early stages consisting of Maven and Ant tools for deploying Intuit Workplace applications.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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