[Crossposted from my JackBe blog]
Today is an exciting day for us at JackBe. It is particularly exciting for our engineering team. Why? Walk down the memory lane with me for a minute…
About 3 years ago, we embarked on a mission to create a new kind of software which today we call an ‘enterprise mashup platform’. And as we started designing JackBe’s enterprise mashup platform (which we ultimately named ‘Presto‘), we knew the basic problem we needed to address was how to make data securely and easily accessible to enterprise users.
That’s not an easy problem, of course. ‘Easy’ and ‘secure’ aren’t often associated with each other. And enterprises are typically heterogeneous collections of data sources, data security solutions, data destinations; web services, portals, databases, spreadsheets, and much, much more. And as we considered the many different options we had to tackle this complex problem, we always came back to one fundamental concept that has proven its worth time and again:
A language is the best tool one can have.
So began our journey towards an ‘Enterprise Mashup Markup Language’ (EMML), a language specifically designed to address the needs of creating and sharing mashups within the enterprise. In conceiving, designing and implementing the language, Raj (our chief architect) and I set out defining the key wants and desires and came up with the following criteria as a basis for EMML:
- It should be declarative. So we made it XML-based.
- It should leverage existing standards. So we used XPath and XQuery.
- It should be domain specific to enterprise mashups. So we added features for user oriented activities.
- It should be tooling friendly. So we made it interpretive for construction and execution on the fly. And extensible with your own meta-data.
- It should be data neutral. So we made it work with all kinds of data from different sources.
While I will refrain from describing the complete language in this blog (instead refer you to the excellent documentation on EMML on the Open Mashup Alliance website), I would like to point out a few key features of EMML here using the following diagram:
As you can see, from each feature, and from the collection of all the features EMML offers, it a robust and powerful language for mashups. And over the last few years, EMML has become an important differentiator for Presto, our award winning Enterprise Mashup Platform. As part of Presto, since its debut, EMML has been thoroughly field-tested and proven. It is time to take EMML to the next level.So now let’s return to the present and let me tell you why it is so exciting for all of us here at JackBe.
Today we launched the Open Mashup Alliance (OMA) to promote and foster interoperability and portability through an open mashup language. As a founding member of OMA, JackBe has contributed EMML to the Alliance and, indirectly, to the entire mashup community. Joining us (see this, this and this)are other industry leaders such as Adobe, Bank of America, Capgemini, Hinchcliffe & Co., HP, Intel, Kapow Technologies, Programmable Web, Synteractive, and Xignite.
So why I am so excited about giving away our vision and our hard work? Why would we want to give away one of our crown jewels? Because…
- It offers an opportunity for our industry to converge upon an open language that aids interoperability and portability of enterprise mashups.
- I believe that OMA offers a huge potential in enabling enterprise mashup adoption in the enterprise by promoting standard approaches and reducing risk and cost.
- As a practitioner, I strongly believe in open and standards based approaches for new and emerging technologies and for enterprise mashups, OMA and EMML are it.
- By contributing EMML to OMA, we will see a lot more innovation in this space by the members of the mashup community.
- I look forward to working with other industry leaders who want to collaborate to ensure portability and interoperability for enterprise mashups.
Why should you care? I hope many of the above reasons are also the relevant reasons for you. As a vendor or a practitioner, I hope you share the excitement and passion for openness and collaboration in any technology. Check out what several industry leaders are saying about OMA and EMML and you will get a sense of why I am so thrilled.
As the enterprise mashup market evolves further, OMA will provide a platform to bring together different efforts around enterprise mashups into a collaborative alliance. If you are a mashup developer, programmer, IT developer, IT Manager, software vendor, or someone simply interested in enterprise mashups, join the OMA Support Group, check out OMA website and download EMML reference implementation and start participating now.
This is just the start of things to come.