IBM today unveiled a preview version of two new tools that it said will allow nontechnical users to "mash up" information and data from disparate sources to build new applications.
The IBM Mashup Starter Kit preview is available at IBM's AlphaWorks site. It includes IBM's Mashup Hub Server, which stores RSS and other types of feeds, and an enhanced version of IBM's QEDWiki interface, which is designed to allow users to link data sources to create a single view of information.
The kit, which is expected to be generally available during the first half of next year, is designed to combine information from databases, departmental information, personal information or data from the Web (like weather reports and maps) to quickly build new applications to address specific business needs, IBM said.
Anant Jhingran, vice president and chief technology officer of IBM's information management group, said that the hub allows users to bring ATOM, XML and RSS feeds together and collapse or aggregate them so they can be mixed and matched depending on their needs.
"Information that is being produced in the Mashup Hub now appears as widgets in QEDWiki and can be pulled in and assembled in QEDWiki," he said. "It allows you access to information, [and] it allows you to mix and match ... and create your own views of data.
For example, he said, IBM and a large telecommunications company that he declined to name are working together on a project to combine information from enterprise systems about orders with Google Maps to provide a visual presentation of operations.
IBM said the mashup kit could also be used by highway construction planners to link weather feeds with information from their engineering and estimating software to create more accurate project bids.
Susumu Haraki, vice director in the R&D information management department of Daiichi Sankyo, a Japanese pharmaceutical company, said his employer is using a combination of IBM's Mashup Starter Kit and an XML application from JustSystems Inc. that "holds the promise of letting key decision-makers within our business easily and rapidly unlock valuable data to address our business needs."
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