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The O'Reilly Factor: BEA Ushers in Web 2.0 Products

Refusing to be left out of the white-hot software development market for Web 2.0 technologies, BEA Systems  today will introduce three new social computing products at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference (ETech) in San Diego.

Web 2.0 technologies include blogs , wikis , mashups  and other social networking endeavors. These are typically interactive applications that non-technical users can manipulate to get more flexibility out of the data they create and share.

BEA today is launching AquaLogic Ensemble, AquaLogic Pages and AquaLogic Pathways, which are designed to let users create more intuitive and interactive, applications to boost operations in the corporate workplace.

Jay Simons, senior director of product marketing at BEA, said the tools leverage the "power of participation" Web sites such as Wikipedia.org, digg and del.ici.ous to foster connections between people and what people do.

Specifically, AquaLogic Ensemble is a mashup developer that can proxy a Web application or any URL-addressable resource. Simons said Ensemble can dictate who is authorized and authenticated to see it.

It also has identity analytics and single sign-on capability, so that if there are, say, six different Web applications, Ensemble will automatically log an IT admin on to all six even if they have distinct ways of identifying users.

AquaLogic Pages is a Web page authoring system and application builder that boasts a palette of drag-and-drop components for creating simple Web pages, blogs, wikis and other Web applications.

Users add data to their applications fed directly from core enterprise systems, and can wire that data on the page to other components, such as a Google Maps or an RSS Feed. Moreover, Pages provides IT the management and governance control that core enterprise systems require.

Simons said that unlike traditional wikis, participants can surface data to Pages through RSS, Web services or by creating a data set from scratch. Users can thus quickly create sets of data, like a list of items or a list of contacts, and reuse that data within applications created by Pages.

Billed as "del.ici.ous for enterprise content," Simons said AquaLogic Pathways combines social book-marking and tagging with search and activity analytics to help users discover and share information through social networks.

Pathways is somewhat like IBM's Dogear application, though Simons said a major difference is that Dogear only handles Web content.

Pathways tags both Web pages and native documents in IBM Lotus Notes databases that aren't Web enabled, or documents from EMC Documentum, IBM FileNet or Microsoft SharePoint repository.

Simons said Pathways also features a "secret sauce" called ActivityRank that ranks the relevance of content based on explicit and implicit usage, including adjustable factors such as scores of document authors, how often the document is tagged and the scores of those people who tag the document.

According to a BEA statement, Adrian McDermott, vice president of engineering, will introduce the three tools in his "Extreme Productivity in the Enterprise: The User is the Developer is the User..." at ETech.

ETech is run by O'Reilly Media, which is credited with coining the Web 2.0 phrase in 2004.

Web 2.0 is slated to be championed at ETech this week. The theme for the conference is "Sufficiently Advanced Technology," described as the "examination of the technological magic behind everything from infrastructure to mass computing and personalized medicine to alternative energy sources."

BEA's new Web 2.0 tools come in the wake of Oracle's  WebCenter Suite, a mashup, wiki and social networking software platform the database software specialist rolled out earlier this year.

The BEA tools also follow IBM's  QEDWiki enterprise mashup maker and Dogear technologies.