Serena has said it will jump into the software-as-a-service (SAAS) market next month with a user-oriented development toolset aimed at promoting the idea of "enterprise mashups."

The toolset, called Vail, will be aimed at business people, rather than programmers, and will allow users to build applications that use existing SOA (service oriented architecture) services and can link to applications such as Salesforce.com and SAP.

The resulting applications can be deployed to Serena's datacentre partner with a single click, allowing users to bypass the IT department.

Serena, founded in 1980, is best known for tools aimed at managing the development and deployment of business applications, and the pedigree for Vail goes back to TeamTrack, an IT process management system that synchronises widely dispersed application development teams and processes.

But Vail is a departure for the company, with its target of bringing together SOA with hot concepts such as SAAS and mashups.

Serena chief executive Jeremy Burton compared the possibilities opened up by Vail to the way Facebook allows third-party developers to use the site as a platform on which they can deploy applications.

Likewise, Burton said, business people should be able to use their company's existing SOA applications and services as a platform on which they can build mashups which combine different pieces of functionality into customised applications.

The resulting applications will be hosted by Silicon Valley-based OpSource at datacentres running the Vail runtime, Burton said.

The toolset will be provided free, as will the first month of hosting, giving users a low-risk way of trying Vail out, according to Serena. After that users will be billed monthly based on the number of users.

The system will be launched in September, with the the hosting service in beta by the end of the year, and set for a full launch by the beginning of 2008, Burton said.

The toolset will work with other Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) tools compatible with Eclipse Foundation's Application Lifecycle Framework (ALF), a project initiated and led by Serena.