IBM on Tuesday gave customers a preview of a new mashup platform that purportedly helps even the most tech-averse employees create Web 2.0-style application mashups in minutes.
Its Mashup Starter Kit, available for download from the IBM alphaWorks Web site, includes a Mashup Hub that stores information feeds from blogs and Web sites using RSS, ATOM and XML formats and a QEDWiki that provides a fairly simple user interface to mash together data culled from enterprise business applications with, for example, Google Maps or forecasts from AccuWeather.com.
IBM said the Mashup Starter Kit combines information from databases, departments, an individual’s personal information and anything and everything on the Web in an organized directory on a server from which IT managers can then build customized, Web-based mashup applications and widgets for their colleagues.
“Web 2.0 is happening within the enterprise, sanctioned or not,” Anant Jhingran, chief technology officer of IBM’s information management division, said in an interview with InternetNews.com. “So it’s very important to create the right technologies so our customers can embrace Web 2.0 in a business sense.”
This Mashup Hub is a server and the central location where IT staffers register all the information sources and applications and begin mixing and re-mixing mashups. All the tools needed to mix, aggregate, transform and combine all the information is presented in a user interface that more tech-savvy sales representatives could access to build new applications.
Along with the new product announcement, IBM is also making a plea to independent software vendors (ISVs) and developers to begin building new mashup applications that can be run in its WebSphere software environment.
“We strongly believe in this emerging space,” Jhingran said. “It’s not about IBM going it alone. We have some partners now and we’re hoping to add even more. We want to take Web 2.0 applications to the next level, bringing in even more information not just for the enterprise IT class but information created by the people, for the people.”
IBM isn’t the only software vendor interested bringing Web 2.0 applications to the enterprise. Competitors such as Microsoft, Oracle and SAP have all rolled out similar products and services to appeal to today’s younger and generally more tech-savvy workforce.
The first commercial version of the Mashup Starter Kit will be released by IBM and its business partners in the first quarter.