Joyent Slingshot

March 22, 2007 - by grassonthefield

Introducing Joyent Slingshot

Joyent Slingshot allows developers to deploy Rails applications that work the same online and offline (with synchronization) and with drag into and out of the application just like a standard desktop application. We have Joyent Connector and a select group of third party applications working under Joyent Slingshot. Joyent plans to have Slingshot available for general release on both Windows and Macintosh OS X in late April, 2007. If you would like to be considered for a spot an early release tester, please send email to slingshot [at] You must be a Rails developer with an application we believe would help us put the final polish on Slingshot.

Joyent Slingshot is a game changer.

The framework is lightweight and customizable and allows Ruby on Rails applications to run offline with a simple and transparent data synchronization. You, the developer, make the decisions about exactly how their apps runs, what synchronizes – not Joyent.

Joyent Slingshot enables Rails to break free of the browser. It breaks down the wall between a Web application and a desktop application without losing what makes a Web application great: the ability to rapidly develop, deploy and update, now for desktop applications.

Joyent Slingshot allows Rails developers to easily create a hybrid Web/desktop application with the experience a user expects from a normal desktop application. Drag in and out of the Rails application for files, email, iCal events, vCards, bookmarks (html files) to begin with. Before final release, Joyent will be extending this to native filesystem integration and native datastore for additional data-types.

How does Joyent Slingshot work?

It provides a consistent and stable environment for a Rails application to run off Windows and Macintosh OS X. We remove all dependencies and conflicts with system binaries. Additionally, Joyent Slingshot allows developers to customize their environment as they please. Install any gems, plugins, binaries, whatever. We can handle it. Joyent Slingshot is like a virtual machine for a Rails application to run on. Sweet.

Simple and lightweight

Joyent Slingshot is a simple and lightweight mechanism to cleanly synchronize online and offline data. You, as a developer, can provide an ActiveRecord transport layer allowing easy customization of the data that gets synced to your application’s who, and when, and how. With the addition of about thirty lines of code, your Rails application can sync data from client to server. With another thirty lines of code you synchronize have file-based data.

The framework provides an extensible drag and drop abstraction layer. Hook into an application’s existing data import/export mechanisms without necessarily modifying any application code.

Finally, it allows the developer to easily deploy code updates and migrations, no matter how long a user has been offline.

We are evaluating applications to use Joyent Slingshot before the final release date. Please send mail to slingshot [at] joyent [dot] com to be considered. A very limited number will be chosen.

Joyent Slingshot Pricing Model

While we continue to kick around different business models for Joyent Slingshot, we can safely say that Slingshot will be available for free to developers that host their Rails application on Joyent Accelerators. Other uses of Slingshot will be allowed, but we haven’t finalized the pricing for those uses. Everyone using Joyent Connector will get a version of Joyent Connector on Slingshot for free.

Joyent Slingshot Demonstration

Here’s a quick tour of Slingshot. We’ll be putting up more/better screencasts in the coming days and weeks.

Update: here’s some further technical insight into the project from our partners at Magnetk.


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