We are focusing on the professionals, and believe that this type of service benefits the hobbyists as well. As Ian mentioned, there are use cases that apply to different groups.
* High end professionals ? They mostly use same tools for years and don't care about prices; work on big long projects.. I don't think they would remove themselves from the comfort of desktop apps.
We have (and are asking for feedback) on a scripting interface that these users can run directly from their desktop apps to make the cloud "transparent".
* Low end professionals ? They do electronics for bread & butter but and are small companies or work for small companies, they use all available tools and all available technologies changing toolchains from job to job, from board to board; they have no loyalty to a toolchain nor a company; will often change "partner" for a small difference in price. These might be your target.
Yes, especially during "crunch time" when there is a need to quickly scale up resources.
* High end hobbyists ? Those that do electronics as a hobby but do from time to time a commercial application. They know a lot, work on diverse projects using diverse set of tools but do stuff rarely if they don't see something "special" there. These are a mystery, I know many ppl in this "population" and they are all soooooooo different. Most of them I know still use '90s technology and don't plan to change
This is a group of very knowledgeable users with diverse requirements. I think the boundaries between "low end professionals" and this group can be blurred. Maybe Plunify is both a convenient and a "heavy-processing helper" for such users.
* Low end hobbyists ? They have no money or no time or not enough knowledge to spend on this hobby, some of them will move from this position in future, most will not. These are only interested in free stuff that can make them learn something, or a free stuff that they can just "reuse". You have to target this population even if they don't really have anything to offer, as those you pick here you want to "have" when they move from this "non-paying" to a "paying" population.
Being a low end hobbyist myself, I am very passionate about helping out in this area if I can. The tutorial that Ian and I worked on is perhaps an example.
if you can make the "acceptable speed" toolchain on the web that would cover "all fpga/cpld" chips out there then it might increase the fun factor as maybe altera have more "solderable" chips I can use and I don't need to get all the tools - I just use the same interface for all of them ...
This gives much food for thought!