The creation and sharing of mashup applications just got one step easier, with the launch yesterday of Openkapow, an online platform for assembling and exchanging composite applications. I've written in the past about Kapow Technologies (disclosure: Kennet portfolio company), which has been distributing what is basically a Web 2.0 application assembly platform to enterprises for years.
This is an exciting milestone in the life of Kapow, whose web integration technologies were ahead of their time and quite difficult to position before Tim O'Reilly popularised the term "Web-two-point-oh" in 2003. Thanks Tim! (Your recent attempts to trademark the term, however, are decidedly uncool...tsk tsk).
Where was I? Oh yes, Kapow's technology allows web-savvy users (not necessarily programmers) to pull together any web-accessible content or functionality into a composite application. This is done entirely through a visual interface, effectively allowing you to browse onto any web site or web interface and pointing and clicking on functionality you want to integrate.
The end result is a simple (or complex) application that combines two or more functions, like many of the 'mashups' found on the web today.
Kapow's mashup platform has been in use by large corporations in Europe and the US for a number of years. They use it to populate intranets and portals, to integrate legacy applications through the web front-end, and to aggregate external data sources to feed custom internal applications.
Openkapow puts this same functionality on the Web for any business analyst or programmer to build their own mashups. Without knowledge of Perl or other scripting languages, new applications can be assembled in minutes rather than days. The resulting applications, or "robots" in Kapow-speak can be traded and integrated into other, more complex applications. Unlike most of the existing mashup exchanges on the Web, Openkapow is targeted at the business community and aims to become a commercial exchange that allows creators to monetise their work.
In various posts this year I've written about the dearth of enterprise-grade Web 2.0 apps. Dion Hinchcliffe has done a great job outlining a commercial Web 2.0 ecosystem, describing potential Web 2.0 enterprise apps and even suggesting revenue models for Web 2.0 companies. But it all remains very theoretical. Kapow already has enterprise customers using Web 2.0 technologies to integrate industrial-strength applications. Now Openkapow provides a platform to create and share enterprise mashups on a larger scale. Let's hope this helps kick Web 2.0 from consumer hype into enterprise reality.