Sunday, May 26, 2024

Web 2.0 Expo: IBM Loves Its Mashups

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SAN FRANCISCO — Mashups could be the next big technology push from IBM
(Quote), and the company has internal deployments and customer engagements to prove it.

Unlike Google (Quote) and others, though, IBM’s interest
in mashups is primarily on
the corporate side. The company demonstrated a Mashup Hub server application at the Web 2.0
conference here designed to help corporations manage mashups (define) internally.

“This is big. You’ll see many groups throughout IBM act on this once Steve [Steve Mills, IBM’s senior vice president of software and a key director of IBM’s
SOA initiative]
starts talking more publicly about it,” David Barnes, IBM’s program
director for emerging Internet technologies, told

Rod Smith, IBM’s vice president of emerging technologies, said IBM is
seeing a lot of evidence that mashups and other Web 2.0 technologies are
being implemented by “shadow IT” groups, tech savvy managers who want to
implement without waiting for IT approval.

But he said for the technology to
gain wider, more effective use, IT, line-of-business managers and
executives will have to work together in a more transparent manner.

“The line-of-business guys didn’t want to tell IT what they’re doing
because they’re afraid of hideous controls,” said Smith. “It’s a question of
control versus collaboration. It’s hard, but there has to be a dialog about
how information is accessed.”

Smith and Barnes discussed an internal mashup that someone at IBM built in
less than a day that “mashed” a hotel search system with hotels specifically
approved by the company for reservations. It’s proved popular with employees as a time saver, he said.

While not yet part of a product group, Smith said IBM has done about 100
briefings with customers and helped create dozens of mashups. “When
customers say they want mashable content, they’re really looking for
applications they couldn’t afford to build,” said Smith.

Barnes gave a recent example of using readily available Web services
where a fellow IBMer created a mashup for an employee moving to Austin.

employee wanted information about housing and the local K-12 schools. A site
called Greatschools had the school
info, but didn’t offer an RSS or other feed mechanism. The IBMer used a tool
from a site called Dapper to create a
“Dap,” a way to scrape (define) the information.

Then he
mashed that with real-estate search site, used another service,
Yahoo Pipes (an interactive feed
aggregator), and created a “pipe” that brought all the relevant information

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