When my partners and I at Crust Technology finally launched our Corteza platform in 2019, we already had a larger vision in mind and a product strategy to achieve that vision.
The idea for Crust first took shape in my mind when I was working as a commercial consultant to open source businesses. In that work, I experienced firsthand how the open-source industry regularly fails to create high-quality, user-friendly products with truly open standards, applications and business models. So our first objective was to create a truly open-source product with as few limitations as technologically, operationally, fiscally and legally possible that also delivered a stellar user experience along with a powerful set of features.
We also wanted to create a product that was not only a viable but in fact a better alternative, to the low-code and structured data management platforms of some of the world’s leading business software clouds, such as Microsoft, SAP and Salesforce. And so Corteza was born – a 100% open-source, 100% API-centric low-code platform.
But why open-source?
The answer to that speaks to our long-term vision. A vision based on the belief that, in order for the world to deliver the sustainable economies it requires, we need to break down the barriers that prevent people and organizations from getting the information they need to, ultimately, create greater value with less strain.
The first of those barriers is the one to creating critical business and operational applications. Low-code platforms eliminate the need for costly software developers and put the power directly into the hands of the organizations and business functions that use them. But this is simply the first step.
The next step is breaking down the barrier to the technology itself. Proprietary platforms such as Salesforce and SAP are not affordable for many organizations. And not all platforms are fully internationalized and completely accessible. To be a truly global software platform, it needs to be free and accessible in all respects and needs to belong to the world and every organization in it.
Then there is the deployment barrier, i.e. whether the platform can be deployed either locally or internationally, on the cloud or on an organization’s own servers, and where the data is held.
Finally, there is the ownership barrier. That is, who has ownership rights to the apps an organization builds on the platform and how easy is it to migrate those apps to another platform?
It was to break down these barriers that we released Corteza as an open-source platform. And this is why we issue it with a friendly Apache v2.0 license and put governing Corteza in the hands of an independent foundation project. It’s also why we implemented standards in every corner of Corteza – from i18n internationalization and WCAG 2.1 Accessibility to BPMN 2.0 compliant Workflows and OpenAPI. So every organization in the world has access to Corteza and is never isolated. Making Corteza free forever is the best way to ensure its qualities are adopted.
All this – delivering Corteza as a standardized global software platform – was the foundational step and was encompassed in our founding name and brand: Crust Technologies.
Breaking the Data Barrier
But now we’re embarking on the next step of our journey towards achieving our vision. Which brings us the next barrier – the data barrier.
Every data gathering tool, every data application uses its own data standard and getting those standards to talk to each other and work with each other is a technological mess. The result is that businesses and other organizations can’t consolidate data from different parts of their operations, let alone from outside sources. Business processes slow down or malfunction. Cities are slow to respond to situations ranging from live parking and traffic situations to utility needs and supplies to accidents and emergencies because they don’t have the centralized, real-time reporting apps they need. National disaster relief agencies not being able to share data with their counterpart agencies across borders due to incompatible data and security concerns.
Corteza can connect with and accept data from any third-party software platform or cloud. It then transforms it to a common, reusable format for the purposes of building applications or to process further. This makes standardized collaboration possible across any organization or even between organizations, be they business enterprises, local governments, NGOs, emergency response units or disaster relief organizations.
Beyond this, Corteza can also federate on a many-to-many basis, allowing organizations to share selected data at scale in near real-time to stay ahead of problems or to accelerate innovation. Corteza ensures that no organization’s activity is locked in a silo, but can instead extend to a global scale as desired. Businesses can operate and cooperate more efficiently. Cities can respond to situations and emergencies faster and with the right resources. Disaster relief agencies can share data and innovate solutions without bumping into security protocols.
This breaking of the data barrier and extending the potential and reach of Corteza is represented by our new name and brand – Planet Crust.
But this is just the beginning. Very soon, Corteza will enable search within data federations and even between them. This will help us to find the information we need to collaborate, solve problems or grow together, whether we are research institutes, industrial affiliates, smart cities or public health authorities.
All data stored in Corteza will be Linked Data. It will have its own portal building capabilities, but will also serve as a data backend to popular, mass-adopted CMS technology such as WordPress and Drupal.
Additionally, we will address the key question of data ownership with a state-of-the-art privacy management infrastructure that will allow end-users or organizations to visualize where their data is stored anywhere in Corteza federations across the world and manage that data from a single point of entry.
These steps will serve to harmonize all the data of the organizations that use Corteza. And as more and more organizations adopt Corteza, so too will the world in general move towards global data harmony.
This will allow us as a global people to catalog and measure our finite resources and build this data into our supply chains. It will also allow us to overlay what we know about how to exploit those resources and the social implications of doing so. And it will make it possible for our leaders, whether in the public or private sector, to make ethical decisions that lead to circular, sustainable economies.
This is our vision at Planet Crust.
Planet Crust is the creator and driving force behind Corteza, a 100% open-source low-code software development platform that lets you import data from any source and use intuitive drag-and-drop tools to create custom applications for your unique business needs. Get started for free today.