A long time ago (2004), in a galaxy far far away (Australia), two visionary's, Bardia Housman and Adam Broadway, introduced web designers, developers and agencies to Business Catalyst (BC). BC was created as an "All in one - Online Business Solution". It was an entirely unique proposition that attracted rapid global adoption. BC was later acquired by Adobe Systems in August 2009.
Adam Broadway stayed on at Adobe but grew increasingly frustrated by Adobe's failure to drive ahead to capture the exploding market opportunity that BC had been destined to dominate. It's a vision Adam hasn't let go of, and since parting ways with Adobe in 2011, Adam has been building a better mousetrap. Better yet it's beta release is about to happen. There's many reasons why this could be the ideal solution. Most especially for high-functioning sites. I'm excited by it. But it is only one of the options being pursued. My intention is provide everyone with at least two options. This will very likely be one them.
To understand what's emerging it helps to know what was unique about BC.
BC's wide range of capabilities and attributes set it apart from other SaaS solutions, and, even with Adobe's neglect to push the platform forward, BC still provides some unique and powerful capabilities that are unmatched.
Chief among these is the BC WebApps module. At a rudimentary level, WebApps output list views (i.e. a page of listings) and a detail view (i.e. The dedicated page the listing links to).
This seems unremarkable until you take a step back and consider that most of the web works like this. "List view/Detail view" describes many environments. Trademe, Ebay, Amazon, Blogs, Directories, Portals, Real Estate, Jobs... in fact, most web applications we interact with everyday work this way.
BC WebApps also provide an "Edit View". This makes it possible for listings to be created from the front end website. i.e. user generated content. That may also seem unremarkable as we're all very familiar with creating listings to sell our unwanted stuff, post jobs, promote our businesses, etc.. As functions go, it's pretty common. That's true. But it was only common to high budget sites making a 5 or 6 figure development investment. BC WebApps provided the capability to conceive an idea after breakfast and have a working prototype by lunchtime. But that's only part of the picture..
The 'piece de resistance' of BC webapps is the ability to create multiple, standalone webapps collecting unique data sets and then pull that data into any field inside any other webapp data set. Databases, inside data fields, inside databases, and so on. This means you can.. e.g. read user profile data inside user generated listings without any external call to fetch and extrapolate the data. What's remarkable is that this was created before API's and data sharing became commonplace as is emerging today and all these years later it's still a better way to do it in a lot of cases. .
This unique capability was conceived, built and nurtured by Adam Broadway. Adam, better than anyone, knows where BC should be today. It's a vision many of us share and we are gutted to see it go.
Reconnecting with Adam has been transformational. His leadership, and others, is proving the value in solving this as a group. I should point out that this is not proposing your site will leverage Adam's new platform specifically. It may. Ultimately the technologies used will be determined by what best meets the needs. Various parties are cooperating to coalesce the right infrastructure and having Adam taking a leading role in the process is seeing light at the end of the tunnel that's progressively looking less like an evacuation plan and more like a significant upgrade.