Involver developed SML internally over the last year to help them scale their custom app creation business. During that same period of time, Involver’s client base has grown from 20,000 to 125,000, revenue has increased ten fold, and the company has grown to six times as many employees. Involver used SML to create and test the scalability of some high profile applications, including Facebook’s Security Quiz. The $8 million in funding the company raised in October helped it build out and productize SML and hire a dedicated support staff to maintain the language.
SML lets developers control pixels within Facebook, pull in content channels such as Twitter and YouTube, and create custom apps for contests, ecommerce, and more. When Facebook tweaks its features or the platform, Involver updates SML on their end, allowing developers to use the same tags and spend less time fixing their existing applications. If Facebook releases new features, Involver releases new tags, allowing themselves and licensees to take advantage of the latest functionalities. SML code can be copy and pasted to replicate elements in different settings, and it will eventually work with other platforms and the open web.
A number of brands and agencies were enlisted as beta partners to test SML, and they’ve reportedly found that cheaper HTML, CSS, and java developers could accomplish work that previously required expensive PHP or Ruby developers. These companies and smaller development firms can use SML and their in-house staff to quickly deliver custom Facebook apps to their clients. Forgoing outsourcing or contracting provides them with more granular control over their apps, increasing customer satisfaction.
Involver is licensing SML as part of its packages for mid size and enterprise-level businesses. The language ties directly into the Audience Management Platform and app suite, allowing developers to modify pre-made applications. To help developers adopt SML, a training program, documentation, and developer community were also launched today. Involver says that SML may be made more openly available sometime in the future.
Patents for SML have been filed, but competitors such as Webtrends, Wildfire, and Buddy Media may seek to develop their own languages for scalable app development. The design flexibility and speed afforded by SML or similar languages created in the future should attract developers who want to focus on the more creative aspects of building applications.