KnowNow's Agile LiveServer


My review of KnowNow's LiveServer is online at InfoWorld this week.

KnowNow 3 Enterprise Edition will be a breath of fresh air to IT shops stuck in large, monolithic integration projects. The simplicity and ease with which small integrations can be started and subsequently grown to encompass more and more of the back office should put KnowNow on every CIO's list of products to evaluate.

The article is pretty tough on KnowNow for their enterprise pricing. I don't really mean to pick on them since they're certainly not alone. This one frustrated me a great deal, however, since I was very taken with the product's potential and wanted to tell a number of people I know to start using it since I could see how it would solve many of the integration problems they face. At the same time, however, I knew that these small companies would never spring the kind of money it would take to license an enterprise product.

I understand why companies price enterprise products like they do. Its not just about grabbing the most money. Its also about supporting an enterprise sales effort designed to appeal to CIOs and IT managers. That requires executive briefings, long sales cycles, user conferences in Las Vegas or Orlando, and so on. All of that requires money. There's also a respect angle. Products that cost $2000 don't get reviewed by senior management and aren't likely to be seen as solutions by the people "solving the big problems."

LiveServer is easy to install and use, so it was a lot of fun to review. It was a lot like a Web server in the sense that once you had it running, you thought of little projects to throw onto it at every turn. This is a very versatile tool. But that's really the issue.

Imagine, if NCSA had never done an open source Web server and Apache had never been born. What if installing and running a Web server cost $100,000? The Web would have never happened. What good ideas are hidden in products that will never see their true potential because they're priced out of range for innovative, small companies?

LiveServer shows Rohit Khare's influence even though he's no longer CTO. Lots of RESTful ideas that show HTTP to be a much more versatile and useful tool than most make it out to be.

One problem I had with the name: its hard for me to type "LiveServer" without slipping and accidentally typing "LiverServer." I had to check the copy carefully to make sure I got them all.