IBM Launches Mashup Portfolio

IBM's Mashup Center is aimed at both non-techies as well as technical users.

LAS VEGAS-IBM is releasing what it calls a complete mashup portfolio for business, empowering individuals to create situational applications, or mashups.

In interviews with eWEEK, Tom Rosamilia, general manager of IBM's WebSphere business, said the new mashup portfolio is strategic for IBM in that it is largely "a partner play. You'll see partners like SugarCRM getting usage out of it."

The portfolio involves two products: IBM Mashup Center and WebSphere sMash. Together, these products enable everyone from the non-technical business user to the IT manager to develop dynamic applications to satisfy an immediate need, Rosamilia said. IBM announced the portfolio at the IBM Impact 2008 conference here April 8.

Rosamilia said some mashups will grow to the departmental level while others will expand beyond that. Companies of every size are beginning to realize the value of SOA (service-oriented architecture) and possibilities of Web 2.0 technology, he said.

"This came out of," Rosamilia said. IBM's ProjectZero is an agile development environment that simplifies the deployment of dynamic Web applications by leveraging REST (Representational State Transfer) and scripting runtime such as Groovy and PHP. Project Zero is optimized for producing REST-style services, integration, mashups and rich Web interfaces.

Companies are under pressure to allow business users to interact with information on demand, including text, audio, video and data from the Web, IBM officials said. The balancing act comes in when IT administrators need to prioritize enterprise-wide issues and the needs of individual departments and end users. Enabling tech-savvy business users to bypass IT departments can help lower the frustration, they said.

The IBM Mashup Center is aimed at the non-technical, line-of-business users. It provides a complete mashup solution, supporting line-of-business assembly of dynamic situational applications with the management, security, and governance capabilities IT requires. The IBM Mashup Center is planned for beta release April 15.

IBM Mashup Center allows non-technical users to drag and drop mashup components from personal, enterprise and Web sources to quickly create and deploy customized Web applications.

Business users interact with IBM Mashup Center's browser-based tool for easy assembly of new mashups. The software includes a set of business-ready widgets and a catalog for finding and sharing widgets and mashups. To create new widgets, IBM Mashup Center includes an easy-to-use development environment to access enterprise systems and the Web. Users can also take advantage of built-in Web 2.0 community features like ratings, tagging and commenting.

It also allows for the unlocking and mixing enterprise, departmental, Web and personal systems while enforcing enterprise-class security and governance. Rosamilia said part of that security is based on Smash-short for "secure mashup"-a Web 2.0 security system developed by IBM Research.

The IBM Mashup Center stores information feeds from enterprise sources in RSS, ATOM or X M L formats to maximize the types of information that can be unlocked and remixed. The software helps create a single view of disparate sets of information in minutes. It is powered by user mashup capabilities from Lotus Mashups, and information access and transformation capabilities provided IBM InfoSphere MashupHub.

Meanwhile, the other component of the IBM mashup portfolio, IBM WebSphere sMash - which is different from the SMash security technology-is an environment for technical developers, Rosamilia said. WebSphere sMash provides a development environment that supports various dynamic scripting languages, enables rapid aggregation of disparate services and feeds and employs RESTful approaches to unleash critical information and services found within a company. The combination enables companies to use technology to extend the reach of SOA, better align with business goals and uncover new opportunities to boost productivity or reach new markets. IBM WebSphere sMash can be used to create Widgets for IBM Mashup Center, IBM officials said.

A development edition of WebSphere sMash will be available from as a free download, while the commercial platform will be sold on a per-license basis starting in the second quarter.

IBM's deep history in open standards, information integration and emerging Internet technologies make the company a strong partner in a new technology era, Mills said.

"The simplicity of Web 2.0 programming and mashups are a big breakthrough for the industry," said Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive of IBM Software Group. "It offers you the option of Web 2.0 interfaces on IMS or DB2 and making it easier to get to files and databases without having to engage a large programming staff to get it done."