As a long-time leader and innovator in Web 2.0 technologies, IBM has defined a reusable component technology called iWidgets that allows customers to build and deploy situational applications rapidly. A key part of iWidget technology is the iWidget container. This container manages the life cycle of iWidgets and has helped both IBM and its customers aggregate a wide variety of content “on the glass” into powerful situational applications quickly and easily. Today, iWidgets and its container (known as the Mashup Enabler) are used across a wide variety of IBM products, including IBM WebSphere® Portal, IBM Lotus® Connections, and the Business Process Manager (BPM) stack of products.
A key part of the IBM business strategy is to provide high-quality products and promote open-computing technologies so that its customers can build solutions that best meet their needs. As part of this strategy, IBM has been working with the OpenAjax Alliance, a group of enterprise vendors that includes Tibco, Microsoft®, and Adobe®, to create interoperable widget technologies.
For example, in the consumer space, a standard called OpenSocial has emerged. This community-driven specification defines a browser-based component model, known as gadgets. In addition, OpenSocial defines an API for accessing information about user profiles as well as their social graph, for example their friends, activities, shared applications, authentication, and authorization. An open-source project at the Apache Software Foundation, known as Shindig, provides a reference implementation of OpenSocial.
As the industry evolves, leaders such as IBM must provide strategies that allow customers to choose the right component model based on their unique business requirements. As an industry leader, IBM is engaging these open communities to advance these specifications by adding enterprise capabilities and promoting interoperability with all other component models. This article explains some initial steps toward interoperability between component models by demonstrating how you can use OpenSocial gadgets in Mashup Center.
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