Mashups a hot item at Web 2.0 show

Mashups, which unite disparate data sources in quickly developed Web applications, are a hot topic at the Web 2.0 Expo conference in San Francisco this week, with companies such as Serena Software Inc., JackBe Corp. and Kapow Technologies offering new products geared to mashup development.

The offerings include an online marketplace and a hosted service for mashups.

Redwood City, Calif.-based Serena is launching Serena Mashup Exchange, an online marketplace for marketing what Serena calls "business mashups." Serena defines business mashups as mashups that solve business problems and combine visual and data elements from multiple sources within a process-driven framework.

At the Serena Mashup Exchange, business users, IT departments and others can find, buy and sell prepackaged mashups, Web services and professional services without paying fees or commissions to Serena. The company said it is providing the marketplace in an effort to control the "long tail" of IT applications, which are projects that individually are too small to warrant IT support yet represent a market opportunity.

With Mashup Exchange, companies can also build what Serena calls "microexchanges" to support secure internal interchanges between IT and business units. For example, a microexchange could be used for publishing mashup-enabled access to an internal ERP system.

Additionally, Serena and CapGemini said they are helping companies bring Web-based consumer-oriented technology into the enterprise via CapGemini's Rain (Rapid Innovation) environment for developing business models for a service-oriented enterprise. With Rain, workers can address business issues on their own rather than relying on IT. Rain enables professionals to compose a mashup even if they don't have programming skills. Serena's business mashup tools can be leveraged in that process.

For its part, Chevy Chase, Md.-based JackBe on Tuesday is announcing general availability of Presto 2.0, the second generation of its enterprise mashup platform. Presto 2.0 features enterprise mashup widgets called "mashlets," which are portable, shareable micro Web applications used for common knowledge worker activities such as analyzing sales data and enterprise risk analysis. Users can share mashlets through enterprise portals, blogs, wikis or e-mail.

Presto 2.0 also features connectivity for products like Microsoft's Excel, Hewlett-Packard's SOA Systinet, and Adobe's Flash and Flex applications. A mashup development plug-in for the open-source Eclipse platform is available as well.

"Enterprise technology is encountering a perfect storm of SOA, mashups and widgets that are converging to finally allow the business to address their most dynamic information needs. And enterprise mashup platforms like Presto 2.0 are an integral part of that solution" said John Crupi, JackBe's chief technology officer, in a statement released by the company. "Presto 2.0 greatly expands the speed, scale, and scope of information use and re-use within the enterprise. Presto mashlets alone make Presto 2.0 worth looking at, but we went much further, bringing mashups and mashlets to every major tool in use by business users and developers."

Version 2.0 also includes Presto Wires, a visual mashup development tool, and Presto Connector for Excel, a tool for consuming mashups in Excel and publishing mashup-ready Excel spreadsheets.

Meanwhile, Palo Alto, Calif.-based Kapow Technologies on Tuesday will show off Kapow OnDemand, a hosted service for building enterprise mashup applications that provide what the company calls structured Web intelligence.

Based on the Kapow Mashup Server, Kapow OnDemand offers access to underlying data sources and services to be mashed. Users also can import Web data into existing applications and IT infrastructure via XML.

OnDemand features a "robot designer" to construct custom Web harvesting feeds and services in a role-based execution runtime, the company said. Monitoring and management tools also are included.

Deployed on a commercial-grade grid, OnDemand provides a secure service featuring load balancing, high availability, fail-over, and automated backup and restore capabilities, according to Kapow.

Users can access a visual scripting environment for building services and feeds that automate collection and delivery of Web intelligence.

Kapow OnDemand is available via subscription, with prices starting at $3,400 per month.

Kapow also is announcing Kapow Connector for Excel, which is designed to enable Excel spreadsheet users to use Web services that provide data directly to a spreadsheet. The connector is used with Kapow OnDemand or Kapow Mashup Server Web 2.0 edition, and it's designed to allow users to analyze Web intelligence on their desktops.

This story, "Mashups a hot item at Web 2.0 show" was originally published by InfoWorld.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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