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10/9/2007
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IBM Introduces Mashup Starter Kit For Business

The kit includes the IBM Mashup Hub, a mashup server that stores RSS, Atom, or XML data feeds and allows them to be merged, transformed, filtered, or otherwise manipulated.

IBM on Tuesday plans to make a new mashup tool available for businesses.

"We heard this from companies over and over again, we need to be able to remix information," said Rod Smith, VP of emerging technologies at IBM, in an interview. "Organizations are only as smart as the information that they have; creating a mashup kit is one thing that companies wanted."

Mashups -- the combination of two or more complementary online data sources -- were popularized when software developer Paul Rademacher combined apartment listings from Craigslist.org with Google Maps to create HousingMaps.com in 2005.

Since then, mashups have become the foundation of Web 2.0 applications and Web sites. Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo have all launched mashup tools. And business-oriented vendors like BEA and IBM have released their own mashup software.

Following up on enterprise mashup technology introduced last year, IBM plans to make its IBM Mashup Starter Kit available to facilitate the creation of business-oriented mashup applications.

The pre-release software will be available to Windows users for free. According to Smith it will be available commercially in the first quarter of 2008 for Windows, Linux, and possibly other platforms. IBM is still working out the business model, he said.

The IBM Mashup Starter Kit includes the IBM Mashup Hub, a mashup server that stores RSS, Atom, or XML data feeds, for example, and allows them to be merged, transformed, filtered, or otherwise manipulated. The kit works in conjunction with IBM's QEDWiki, a mashup creation tool that allows nonprogrammers to create business applications.

As an example of what can be done with the technology, Smith points to AccuWeather, which is delivering real-time, customized weather information through mashups made with QEDWiki. Access to this information helps AccuWeather clients manage the business risk posed by adverse weather conditions.

Smith said the development of mashup technology has shown that different business units inside organizations, not to mention their partners, have a lot of valuable information but it hasn't been easy to share. He expects that will change.

"This whole area of mashup eco systems is going to be a huge driver for businesses," said Smith.

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