IBM is getting closer to releasing its mash-up technology, with plans to deliver an enterprise-ready software product in the third quarter, and a free trial version hosted on the web that customers can test out beforehand.
IBM has delivered mashup prototypes before but this will be the company's first generally available, supported product, product manager Nicole Carrier said Thursday. IBM announced a beta trial in April; early adopters include Boeing and Carrefour, a French retail company which plans to use IBM Mashup Center to create an application that helps workers prepare for supply chain disruptions caused by weather and traffic problems.
One retail company, which Carrier could not name, is creating an emergency response mashup combining internal information such as the location of trucks, inventory and emergency shelters with externally available information like weather and news feeds.
IBM said the free trial version would be available at IBM Lotus Greenhouse, though as of Thursday afternoon the mashup program had not appeared on the site. It will be up "very soon," a spokeswoman said.
The trial version is supposed to give customers a virtual sandbox in which to experiment, but in order to deploy mash-ups behind the firewall, customers will have to buy the packaged software version to be released in the third quarter, according to Carrier. In March, IBM announced that it had developed new code to secure mashups for business use.
Mash-ups are part of a trend toward businesses using so-called web 2.0 technologies that make it easier for workers to collaborate. The corporate mashup market will hit $700 million by 2013, Forrester predicted in a recent report. Enterprise mashup technology is already available from the vendor JackBe, which released the second version of its Presto product in April.
IBM Mashup Center will let non-technical users create programs, using widgets that can be dragged and dropped, and combined with internal systems such as SAP. A mashup might combine enterprise systems such as databases, personal content like Excel spreadsheets, and web content, Carrier says.
"We can bring in Google Gadgets and mash it up with your enterprise systems," Carrier says. YouTube videos, and pretty much anything else can be embedded into a mashup, she says.
"Information from a wide variety of sources can be mixed, filtered and mashed together to create new information sources and output in many different forms, such as RSS, ATOM, or XML," a press release states.
IBM Mashup Center will include out-of-the-box widgets and a development tool allowing construction of new widgets from enterprise systems and the web, the press release states. "Users can also take advantage of built-in web 2.0 community features like ratings, tagging and commenting to guide users to the most valuable and useful widgets," IBM says.
IBM Mashup Center relies on Kapow Technologies to give customers access to unstructured data from public and private websites, and then transform the content into web services or feeds to be included in a mashup.
Pricing and an exact release date have not been announced.