280 North was not your typical software tool company. This three-man operation in Silicon Valley began as a Y-Combinator-funded startup, and at the beginning of summer, the company ended up as a part of Motorola. 280 North was known for the development of Objective-J, the Atlas browser-based IDE, as well as the Cappuccino Web application framework.

Objective-J is an object-oriented version of JavaScript inspired by the design of Objective-C.

What set 280 North apart from most development tool companies was its size. A small company from the start, the three-man operation initially focused on development tools for building its own Web applications. The first such application was 280 Slides, a presentation program built on the Web but with the look and feel of an Apple desktop application.

While the purchase of 280 North for US$20 million took place at the beginning of the summer, the companies did not publicly announce the acquisition until this week.

The 280 North team began its work on Objective-J when the founders decided they wanted to recreate Objective-C for the Web. The result was the open-source Cappuccino Web development framework, which enables desktop-like behavior in the browser.