Kapow Launches First Mashup-builder Community Web Site
- By John K. Waters
Kapow Technologies has launched what
looks to be the world's first online mashup-builder community. Unveiled today at
Application Integration and Web Services Summit in Orlando, Florida, openkapow was created to accelerate
mashup adoption and industry best practices in mashup design, says company
founder and CEO Stefan Andreasen. And maybe to snag a few customers.
''It's like we've been selling refrigerators before anyone has seen an ice
box,'' Andreasen told me. ''We have 200 very happy customers, but that's a drop
in the ocean. Openkapow is our way of promoting Web 2.0, supporting mashup
developers, and making people aware of our product.''
You gotta love a guy who's that straightforward.
Andreasen's Palo Alto, CA-based company specializes in providing mashup
serving, feed serving, and Web scraping software that enables companies to
deploy content-intensive applications, such as enterprise mashups and Web 2.0
services. The company's flagship product, the Kapow Mashup Server, is designed
to allow users to connect, collect, and mashup virtually anything on the Web.
The launch of the developer community site coincides with the release of the
newest version of that product, Kapow Mashup Server 6.2, which is now shipping.
Kapow was actually providing enterprise-class technologies that use a
Web-based approach to building composite services and applications before
''mashup'' made its way from the pop music world to the next-gen Web. It turns
out that Intel has been a Kapow customer for
about two years. According to Intel project manager Mike Straight, who works on
the company's global Web operations team, the Santa Clara, CA-based chipmaker
has built an extensive content-management-system mashup with the Kapow Project
Manager. Intel is also a big openkapow.com booster.
''As a multi-threaded solution, openkapow builds mashups that take advantage
of Intel quad-core technology to effectively deliver enterprise benefits to
users of the next generation of web applications,'' said Jason Powell, Intel's
designated Kapow project manager, in a statement.
''Openkapow is all about accelerating the adoption of mashups in the
enterprise through the network effect and grassroots momentum that a large open
community can generate,'' Andreasen adds.
It's hard not to think of mashups primarily as a consumer and hobbyist
phenomenon. These things are Web-app hybrids, after all, combinations of content
and services from unrelated, even competing, Web sites smooshed together to
create a new service. But a browser-accessed network is a browser-accessed
network, Andreasen insists, whether it's part of the public network or a
Seen in an enterprise context, mashups can be developed to solve a wide
variety of business problems. Portals can be modified or extended to enhance
existing functionality. Web services can be created from any existing
application component with a web interface (think REST or SOAP). Existing
application functionality can be aggregated into composite apps, combining
SOA-enabled and older web-based applications and data. Data can be collected and
restructured from various Web sources.
Andreasen isn't the first to make the enterprise-mashup connection. Jason
Bloomberg, industry analyst at ZapThink
sees mashups as part of the natural evolution of the service-oriented
''Consumers have been out there doing funky things with their browsers, and
we're calling those things mashups,'' Bloomberg told me recently. ''What's
interesting to us about this phenomenon is how mashup capabilities are being
used in businesses to leverage services in the context of an SOA. We're calling
those apps enterprise mashups.''
Whether or not you're interested in mashups, you should check out this
website. It went live today, and it's one of the cleanest and best-designed dev
sites I've seen. It's graphically inviting and a pleasure to navigate. It runs a
version of the company's Mashup Server, which members of the community can use
for free to create non-commercial applications. You'll find demos, tutorials,
user forums, and blogs.
The site also provides free access to a visual scripting tool called
RoboMaker. Kapow built tool around the concept of software ''Robots.'' In
Kapowland, Robots are the building blocks of a mashup. They contain
instructions on how to interface with source applications, and they execute
specific tasks related to the clipping of site content, aggregation of data, and
the creation and-or consumption of REST or SOAP-based web services or RSS feeds.
Anyone can download this IDE from openkapow.com, build a few robots,
and share them with other developers in the community. All Robots developed by
the openkapow.com community will be accessible to members through the Robot
Gallery, a common repository on the site. They can be reused either as a
standalone component, or in the context of a full mashup.
BTW: Andreasen was in Orlando to announce openkapow at the
Gartner conference, so we spoke on the phone. Also on that call today was Joe
Keller, former VP of marketing at Sun
Microsystems, now the chief marketing officer at Kapow. I talked with Joe a lot
when he was at Sun. I thought of him as The Great Explainer: No matter how dense
I was, the guy would walk me through an explanation my Aunt Mary could
John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached