IBM to Launch Mashup Center Beta in April
Published: April 15, 2008
by Dan Burger
Late last year, at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando, Florida, the IT analyst group forecasted that Web mashups would be the dominant development model for the creation of composite enterprise applications by 2010. When you are in the business of making technology predictions, it never hurts to be bold. By the time the due date comes around most people won't remember the prediction, and the predictor has plenty of time to come up with reasons why the pace of adoption was slower than expected.
This time, however, Gartner might be right on the money.
IBM is going to be doing its part to make Gartner's dreams come true. Last week, Big Blue announced the beta release on April 15 of its Mashup Center. Even before the beta, IBM is billing this as a complete mashup solution. I guess IBM believes in the "it never hurts to be bold" strategy, too. When Mashup Center eventually goes to market as a final product, will it be more complete? I have a hunch that IBM will find ways to make it more complete as time goes on.
Despite the already furious pedaling on the hype cycle, the Mashup Center is certainly more than a mere glimpse of things to come. Whether it is totally complete, more complete than any other product available, or destined to be even more complete later only time will tell.
The most important aspect right here and right now is the line of business assembly of dynamic situational applications that provide users with access to information on demand. This is where Web 2.0 as we know it today on the Internet meets composite applications that build productivity in the corporate world. Not that IBM thought of this idea or that it has the distinction of being the only company with a "complete" mashup solution, but it's clear that the top techies at IBM Lotus are putting the company in the game in a big way.
Mashup Center is built upon technology provided by Lotus Mashups and InfoSphere MashupHub.
Lotus Mashups was designed so that non technical users create, deploy, and share customized Web applications without frying their brains on harder-than-high-school-algebra programming conundrums. It's browser-based software that includes "business-ready" widgets to get users out of the starting gate. Also included is a catalog for finding and sharing other widgets and mashups. Naturally, people will want to create new widgets. To do so, there is a development environment that allows access to enterprise systems and the Web. Users can also take advantage of built-in Web 2.0 community features such as ratings, tagging, and commenting.
The InfoSphere MashupHub was created with the IT professional and business analyst in mind. IBM describes it as a lightweight environment for unlocking, transforming, and mixing enterprise, departmental, Web, and personal systems. If that sounds like you'd be tossing the keys to every hacker in the galaxy, IBM says it has your back with built-in security and governance.
It can store information feeds from enterprise sources in RSS, ATOM, or XML formats, therefore maximizing the types of information that can be unlocked and mixed. This capability to merge, transform, filter, annotate, or publish information in new formats is the reason various sets of information can be seen in a single view.
All this is not likely to put the hard-core technical developers in the unemployment line. For those with major league skills, IBM has WebSphere sMash. In its formative years, it was known as Project Zero. Project Zero began as an incubator project with the goal of creating a flexible development environment for Web applications.
A development edition of WebSphere sMash is available from www.projectzero.org as a free download, while the commercial platform will be sold on a per license basis and will be available in the second quarter direct from IBM and its partners.
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