Microservices Matters

Apr 8 2008   1:07PM GMT

Big Blue sMashes into Web 2.0

StorageSwiss George Crump Profile: StorageSwiss

At its Impact 2008 event, IBM today launched a REST-based development environment called WebSphere sMash, based on its open source Project Zero. sMash supports both the PHP and Groovy scripting languages, the latter was chosen in order to “attract the Java developers,” according to Jason McGee, IBM distinguished engineer and chief architect for WebSphere sMash.

It creates a serverside runtime for RESTful services. The browser-based development tools allow for REST-based components to be exposed via Ajax with the Dojo toolkit. McGee said the goal of the project had been to create a simple, intuitive component model for developers looking to create RESTful services. There is a developer guide, which goes into the nitty-gritty on runtime management, RSS/ATOM support, REST API documention, configuring data access and dozens of other topics.

Some good news for those looking to do more with REST development is that sMash won’t be a standalone REST offering inside the Big Blue product ocean.

“We look at REST enablement as a core capability across the IBM portfolio,” said Kareem Yusuf, director of product development for WebSphere sMash. WebSphere CTO Jerry Cuomo made the same vow, promising that REST support will be driven across IBM’s platforms, particularly on the SOA front.

“We’re systematically going through our product line and REST-enabling everything from MQ to CICS, DB2, WebSphere Application Server and on and on. This liberates these products and the content they represent to the Web,” Cuomo said. “With all that content dangling out on the Web, programmers can now agilely write new applications by interacting with those programs.”

Using sMASH coders can mashup content and then deploy it as a Web application, he explained. Mashups developed with the Project Zero technology also lend themselves to being hosted in a Software as a Service (SaaS) mode, Cuomo said.

“So Zero as a service is the next thing on the horizon,” he added.

The scripting language support should lower the barriers to entry for developers looking to try sMash.

“It’s not a new language people have to learn,” McGee said.

A limited community version will be available through the Project Zero website and the full version, with support, will be available on a license model.

For a developer level take, check out the TSS.com discussion of the sMash release.

Joining sMash in the Web 2.0 offering mix is a new product called IBM Mashup Center, designed for non-technical line of business users. It combines Lotus Mashups technology on the front end with the InfoSphere MashupHub on the back end. Larry Bowden, vice president of portals and Web interaction hubs at Lotus, said the product is designed to put mashup technology in the hands of knowledge workers, enabling them to pull information out of enterprise applications (like ERP and CRM) and combine that with market data and other 3rd party applications.

“The differentiator is we know where all that information is at,” Bowden said, noting that mashup development has become a hotbed for venture capital investment.

A visual wizard tool will allow users to create RESTful services and widgets without having to know specific programming languages.

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