James Governor's Monkchips

New Product Category: IBM announces a “mashup server”

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IBM Press room – 2006-06-15 IBM Executive Declares Web 2.0 Technology to Drive New Business Applications – United States

Also interesting to see that “Rod declares”… fine example of declarative living, IBM.

Other mashup servers? Arguably Zimbra… “Collaboration Server” is a bit Marketing 1.0, isn’t it?

Lizardtech is pitching one.

Microsoft’s Sam Ramji recently asked what an enterprise mashup server would look like. I think Rod just answered the question.

Adobe Flex is a candidate, if it gets the tooling right.

Salesforce.com’s AppXchange could be described as a hosted enterprise mashup server.

Dion Hinchcliffe is taken with IBM’s QED Wiki, too. He says: This makes me think of a similar software development phenomenon a few years back. As much as I was never a huge fan of the earlier versions of Visual Basic, they did one important thing right. They made it easy for even novice programmers to quickly create useful business applications from various back-end databases.

We will see plenty more mashup servers announced and rreleased over the next 12 months.

Not much more to say, but if you know of any other products worth thinking of us mashup servers please let me know.

One other consideration. Its pretty boring to here the business modeller pitch from middleware and integration vendors all the time, where they claim the business user models and the code is then autogenerated through runtime magic, because there are so few people out there that actually do business modelling. So the idea is building to a community that doesn’t exist, and has some steep barriers to entry.

I think lightweight mashups on the other hand, pace Dion and Rod, really do have potential to allow business users to create interesting data and service manipulations.

Peace out.

disclaimer: IBM and Adobe are clients. Microsoft is occasionally. Zimbra is not, although we’re going to use their email server.

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  1. While we’re not calling our product a “mashup server,” this is something we’ve been doing for a while now, and have been calling “data mashups,” which I wrote about in a recent post http://blogs.ipedo.com/integration_insider/2006/04/data_mashups.html

  2. speaking of marketing 1.0…are these mash up servers anything like the infamous “universal business connectors” of the late 90s early 2000s? the pipe dream of IT heads everywhere. afterall a true “mashup server” should enable many to many mashups where salesforces enables integration with their one app to many others…not sure that deal with zimbra is just yet. (although I’m interested to hear your experience with it James…I’ve had it with ms exchange!!!!)

    completely agree with the business modeller pitch, i don’t many programmers who can even do that:P

  3. I’m not quite sold on the notion of a generic mash-up server, mostly because I think mash-ups are more powerful in the context of an application, but I think adding generic mash-up capabilities to applications servers (e.g., .NET, WebLogic, WebSphere, JBoss, Tomcat) and Ajax Toolkits (e.g., Kabuki, Dojo, Google Web Toolkit) makes sense, assuming we can get the abstractions right (see below). Doing so would make it easier for the applications hosted on such containers to mash up other applications. For example, if more mash-up capabilities were provided by the underlying technologies, that could have simplified the work we had to at Zimbra.

    I’m still worried, however, about how much of the mash-up infrastructure we can make generic—much of what is needed seems inherently application specific to me. Fundamentally, I think the mash-up is more likely to remain a design pattern than become pluggable infrastructure.

  4. Have you seen any of this stuff James? From reading the release, it sounds like stand alone apps.

    In the real world, value may well be derived from that style of app but the power comes from being able to act on that information in the context of the job at hand. I’ve not seen any of THOSE types of example.

  5. The question is who needs it…for those who are already mashing up on their own server, a new product may not be required. However, let’s assume mashups moveup, shakeup, and wakeup the big bad million-liner Java or C++ camps. They would have room for the mashup rack in the budget, and they would be looking for someone to point the fix IT finger at, so they would download, install (whew! that was hopefully easy) and they could be mashing up later that day, happily still invested in the IBM “we got you covered” approach.

    fyi – Flex has the tooling right, and anyday now…

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