Cloud Sherpas releases open-source framework for short-cutting Google Apps development

The 'Ferris' platform uses Python development tools and is designed to dramatically reduce application development time.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

Integrator Cloud Sherpas has launched an open source, Python framework that could help reduce the amount of time it takes to develop a custom Google Apps application by up to 80 percent.

The platform, called Ferris, has already been used internally by Cloud Sherpas to create hundreds of different applications built on the Google App Engine. It is a lightweight framework distributed for free under the Apache License, Version 2.

"Ferris enabled us to build an Android tablet mobile application, and got it into production in about a week," said Cliff Dixon, vice president of IT at Quality Distribution Inc (QDI), in a press release about the technology. A Cloud Sherpas customer, the global logistics company used Ferris and Google App Engine to overhaul its pickup, delivery, and service ticketing system. "With the help of Ferris, all of the repetitive developer tasks were eliminated, allowing us to focus on the business logic."

For developers who are reading this post, here are some of Ferris' key features (there are plenty of others, so visit the Ferris framework website for more details):

  • A Model-View-Controller architecture that makes for "Rails-like" application development

  • Templates and themes built on Jinja2

  • Integration with Google Accounts, OAuth2, and Google Client APIs

  • Form definition and processing with the WTForms library

Cloud Sherpas has worked with more than 5,000 customers to help them adopt, manage and add custom enhancements to cloud applications from Google, Salesforce.com, Service Now, and others.

The company has been on an expansion tear: since 2007, it has bought or merged with at least eight other cloud consultancies (and counting). Its most recent acquisition in January 2013 was for Innoveer Solutions, a CRM advisory and cloud integration services company that has a big presence in Europe. Innoveer's clients include Panasonic, Shire Pharmaceuticals, and AXA (which runs one of the biggest installations of Salesforce.com worldwide).

Here's what Cloud Sherpas CEO David Northington had to say about the purchase:

Many of our global customers have experienced success in one area of their business, and are eager to apply cloud-based sales automation, customer service, call center support, and collaboration throughout their organizations. With the acquisition of Innoveer, we bring more than 500 cloud strategists and technical experts to bear on the market across six countries, including a solid platform for European expansion.

The integrator actually acquired two companies in January: the second one was Navigis, a company that provides consulting and advisory services related to IT services management, in particular ServiceNow deployments.

Cloud Sherpas raised $40 million in Series B venture capital in December 2012 to help fund its aggressive international growth plans. Its existing investors, Columbia Capital and Delta-V Capital, were joined in the new round by Greenspring Associates and Queensland Investment Corporation.

Here's more information about the Ferris framework:

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