IBM Releases Web Intermediaries Toolkit

IBM Corp. Wednesday released a free Java-based software
toolkit that enables a new class of applications known as Web intermediaries to
control the flow and customization of Web data.

IBM’s Web Intermediary (WBI)
Developer Kit for Java provides a framework for creating intermediary
applications which can monitor and modify the flow of Web data between clients,
servers and proxies. For example, they can produce personalized content,
connect local and remote information on the Web, route Web traffic, translate
protocols or translate document formats.


At its core, WBI is a programmable HTTP proxy server. IBM’s Web Intermediary
Developer Kit provides a programmable control point for building Web
applications, a set of developer resources for building applications, and a run-time environment for deploying these applications.

In particular, it
includes all the application programming interfaces (APIs) and documentation to
allow developers to start writing intermediary-based applications as well as
the code needed to manage functions common for many intermediaries, such as:
network connections, sessions, HTTP and HTML.

To develop a WBI application,
developers only need to devise the Java code required for their specific
function to plug into the WBI framework. WBI also includes five example plugin
programs:


  • Personal History — Keeps a history of the user’s past browsing, allows
    users to search this history to find previously viewed pages, creates an
    “automated hotlist” of the 200 pages visited most frequently, and adds shortcut
    links to pages based on previous browsing patterns.
  • Traffic Lights — Assesses the current net speed to links on Web pages as
    they are viewed. Red, yellow or green dots added near the links indicate that
    the connection speed is slow, medium and fast, respectively.
  • Page Filtering — Permits a Web browser to display only the pages of
    specific sites.
  • Yahoo Category Tracker — Retains a list
    of all the Yahoo category pages that are visited, permitting a rapid return to
    those pages without remembering the initial path.
  • XML/XSL — Transcoding intermediaries convert data from one format to
    another, which is useful when the file/data format coming from the Web server
    is not supported by the browser of, say, a personal digital assistant. This
    program uses the XSL (eXtensible Stylesheet Language) to convert XML
    (eXtensible Markup Language) data into HTML, which can be displayed using a Web
    browser.

The alphaWorks license allows developers to download the WBI technology for
personal use and to create their own WBI plug-ins for performing specific
tasks. Developers are encouraged to give feedback to IBM’s Research team to
help improve future generations of the technology. A commercial version of WBI
is available for developers building Web intermediary products.


IBM’s Web Intermediary (WBI) Developer Kit for Java can be downloaded from
IBM’s alphaWorks Web
site.

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