He demoed with a startup called Flotype which created a product that's since been used by more than 150,000 people called NowJS.
NowJS helps developers hack together simple websites and applications. But for the past six months, Shankar and his team have been working on a more robust solution.
Last week they launched Bridge and it was picked up instantly by the developer community. Within a few days, thousands of developers tried Bridge and sent more than 50 million messages over it. "We thought we'd get 1,000 users after two months -- but to get that in a day was a bit shocking," Shankar tells us.
Bridge is messaging server that has the potential to save startups millions of dollars when they scale into big tech companies.
In developer speak, it's a "RPC f ramework for building modular services and scalable cross-language applications ."
For the rest of us, it lets developers have code sitting on a 'bridge' that can then be accessed by many different web applications. The code doesn't all have to be written in the same language either. All of the applications can combined to form a more robust site.
For example, Facebook has tons of apps, from Timeline to Chat. The Timeline engineering team needs to be able to adjust that app without affecting Chat and vice versa. But they all work together to make Facebook a massive site with a lot of moving parts. Facebook has spent millions of dollars building its infrastructure from scratch and hiring the best engineers to do so. Google, Twitter, and every other major tech company has done this too.
"What we're offering to developers is a way to take technology that was previously only accessible to tech giants and make it available to everyone," Shankar explains.
We asked Business Insider's team of developers what they thought of Shankar's product, Bridge. While they agreed its documentation is "very nice," they brought up one concern.
Bridge is useful for cases when developers need to talk to the same API in different languages, they said, but it isn't open source, which is off-putting.
"You can 't look under the hood to see what the quality of the code is, how they do back ups etc," they explained. "And you are dependent on Bridge to stay afloat or not get bought by another company that would suddenly start charging you money or do something wacky to the application."
Shankar says that Bridge promises to give code back to developers should anything happen to its site, but that still didn't unnerve our tech team. "Even if they give you your code back you need to then find another solution," they said.
Our dev team concluded, "It is nice that Bridge abstracts all the functionality for you - we'd just probably like it more if it were open source."
Shankar knows Bridge still has a long way to go, but it's off to a pretty good start. As for NowJS, it will continue to run on its own, but Flotype will be rebranding as Bridge. NowJS users will likely be offered a transition plan in the upcoming months.
"This type of solution is really hard to do right," Shankar says. "We're not even there yet. It will be years before we build the full solution; it can't be built in a weekend or even a month. But the timing for a product like Bridge is really right. Cloud computing is rebuilding everything."
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