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IBM Mashup Tool Focused on Enterprise Content

IBM launches new mashup tools WebSphere sMash and Mashup Center.

In the latest sign that mashup tools are gaining prominence within enterprises, IBM Corp. has unveiled new software that lets both non-technical users and developers tie data to Web 2.0-type applications.

The company last month released a beta version of its IBM Mashup Center, a Web-based tool that lets any worker drag and drop content from public or internal Web sites into composite or mashup type applications. Mashup Center combines two existing tools -- Lotus Mashups and the IBM InfoSphere MashHub.

Big Blue also launched WebSphere sMash, a toolkit for developers that allows them to extend their service-oriented architectures so that they can be used to build widgets via IBM's new tool for end users. According to IBM, WebSphere sMash offers an agile development platform that supports dynamic scripting languages and allows quick aggregation of various content feeds.

Enterprise Tools
IBM says its new offerings differ from self-service tools such as Google's Mashup Editor, Microsoft's Popfly or Yahoo!'s Pipes, in that they're more focused at enterprise content.

Rod SmithRod Smith, IBM's VP of emerging technologies, says the tooling is language-independent, so it will appeal to Windows shops looking to aggregate their .NET-based content, which supports REST and passes content in XML or RSS. "It's a Dojo runtime that we use, and we're actually using the OpenAjax Hub work that Microsoft is a part of that allows widgets to talk to each other."

IT researcher IDC says demand for such tools is coming from the lines of business. In a spot survey of 270 businesses last year, 20 percent said they were already using some type of mashup tool, and another 25 percent were considering doing so.

IBM's entry addresses both the individual and developer concerns allowing them to comply with security and other enterprise issues, says IDC analyst Kathleen Quirk.

"You need to have the tools that can help form those connections," she says. "In terms of IBM's Mashup Hub, once you have these mashups, if they do start taking off within a wider audience or within an organization, you need to have some way to catalog and store these things so they can be reused, so you don't have a ton of one-offs."

IBM will offer a developer version of WebSphere sMash as a free download at www.projectzero.org. Commercially developed or sold apps will be offered on a per-license basis later this quarter.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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