November 26, 2014

SF Startup ‘Meteor’ Blasts through the Atmosphere With Offline App-Creation Tool for Developers

meteor1 Since the explosion of the internet – and the realization of its full potential, the world’s web-developers and web-developer wannabes have grown in number, and now comprise a sizeable army of keyboard-tapping mouse-clickers.  For an increasing number of them, JavaScript is at the center of the universe.  A San Francisco-based software-development startup called Meteor is offering a free, open-source platform for building web-apps right in the browser.  Meteor is focused on, but certainly not limited to JavaScript . . . and thus, the developer world rejoices.

 

Despite being brand spanking new, Meteor is getting some big-time buzz, and has even expressed a hope of becoming the “universal standard” for client-side web-app creation.  It’s been noted that Meteor’s method of attack (running in both the browser and on the server, and relying on the cloud) is similar to that of certain applications at Twitter, Google, and Facebook – however, Meteor has scaled it down for the sake of simplicity and usability.  The hope is that their platform will be as accessible for newbies as it is for experienced hackers.

 

An Impressive Investmentmeteor

Meteor recently grabbed a veritable mountain of cash in its initial round of funding – a round which included some of Silicon Valley’s top VC firms.  The amount specified? . . . $11.2 million . . . boom!  The round was led by none other than Andreessen Horowitz, a firm which recently made international headlines for its gargantuan investment in GitHub (an investment to the tune of $100 million).  Hmm I wonder if GitHub is hiring… ;)

 

But that’s not all.  Meteor has received financial backing from a line of investors that stretches all the way down the street and around the corner.  The list includes Y Combinator, Matrix Ventures, Heroku founder James Lindenbaum, Facebook & Asana co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian, Google’s 23rd employee & Gmail creator Paul Buchheit, Rod Johnson, Ron Conway, David Skok, Maynard Webb, and Yuri Milner.  The list reads like a “who’s who” of the top tech-insiders, and reminds me of a pro-sports pre-game roll-call.

 

The enthusiasm centered on Meteor may be further stoked by the impressive resumes of its creators, who are anything but greenhorns.  The company was founded by Matt DeBergalis, Nick Martin, and Geoff Schmidt – all of whom are experienced entrepreneurs.  DeBergalis previously co-founded ActBlue, and both Martin and Schmidt were co-founders of MixApp.

The Selling-Points

Some of Meteor’s selling-points include “hot code pushes,” whereby developers can update their apps while other users are still connected; “latency compensation,” whereby the reliance on pesky servers is bypassed; “pure JavaScript,” meaning that developers can use JavaScript to write the entirety of their app; “live page updates,” whereby templates automatically update (which gets rid of some of the more monotonous aspects of app creation) . . . and more.

 

Meteor is licensed under the MIT license, and can be used freely to build both open-source and closed-source apps; and the company encourages developers to integrate the framework into their own projects however they see fit.  Meteor is still undergoing rapid development, and its team is currently working toward the release of Meteor 1.0.

 

Q&A with Co-Founder Matt DeBergalis

I had the opportunity to conduct an email Q&A with Matt DeBergalis today (5/20/2013), in which he had the following interesting tidbits to share:

 

“This month, the engineering team at CATS released ApplyBin
(www.applybin), a lightweight resume database written in Meteor that
integrates.  CATS is an established commercial-grade applicant tracking
system.  Another great example comes from Greenqloud
(www.greenqloud.com), a green cloud computing service based in Iceland,
[which has] built their cloud management interface in Meteor . . . and Riparian Data is
developing Gander (www.gander.io), a new way of reading email that uses
Meteor to show a synchronized real-time interface on both the desktop
browser and in mobile devices.  Just a couple weeks ago, two leaders in the community released “Discover Meteor” (http://discovermeteor.com), a wonderfully-written new
book on learning Meteor.  It’s gotten a lot of positive attention, all
deserved.”

 

You may remember the recent meteors that crashed through the atmosphere in Russia and beyond.  DeBergalis had this to say on the topic:

 

“Two major Meteor releases came on the same day as a significant meteor
impact on Earth!  On October 17th, 2012, we announced Meteor 0.5.0.
This was the first release of our new accounts and authentication
system.  That same day, a meteor landed just outside San Francisco.
(http://earthsky.org/space/many-in-bay-area-heard-and-saw-bright-meteor-on-october-17)
In February, we released Meteor 0.5.6 on the same day the
Chelyabinsk meteor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chelyabinsk_meteor)
landed in Russia.”

 

Nice timing, guys!  J
If you’re a fan of JavaScript-centric app-development, you might want to check out Meteor.  Their products and services can be accessed at www.meteor.com.

 

    A startup is a company designed to grow fast. Being newly founded does not in itself make a company a startup. Nor is it necessary for a startup to work on technology, or take venture funding, or have some sort of "exit". The only essential thing is growth. Everything else we associate with startups follows from growth. Paul Graham, Y-Combinator