Kapow energizes mashups

Product enables users to collect and mash content from the Web as well as corporate intranets

Kapow Technologies will announce on Tuesday general availability of Kapow Mashup Server 6.2, featuring access to RSS and ATOM feeds in the building of mashup applications.

The product features a set of technologies enabling users to collect and mash content from the Web as well as corporate intranets. New in version 6.2 is the ability to define RSS and ATOM feeds for any Web site or intranet so they can be used in a mashup, said Joe Keller, Kapow chief marketing officer and a former vice president at Sun Microsystems. RSS and ATOM join industry-standard APIs such as SOAP and REST that can be used to access data sources.

Mashups, which piece together applications out of Web content, are becoming enterprise-ready, Keller said. "I think the impact [of mashups] is they're moving into the enterprise and helping deliver applications in a fraction of the time and the cost that it takes to do it with other methods," he said.

Currently, the number of Web sites available to mashup makers is very limited, Keller said. Out of 108 million Web sites, there are only 374 APIs for building mashups, said Keller, citing industry figures. Kapow seeks to improve this situation.

"There's a long way to go to make all of the Web available to mashup builders," he said.

Mashup Server supports Web 2.0 technologies such as AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) and Ruby and re-purposes Web-based application components into data access APIs. This is done using point-and-click techniques.

With the product, data or content can be accessed from any browser-enabled application or Web site. Mashup Server has been used to build mashups for functions such as SOA enablement and content management system and portal integrations.

Momondo.com , a European-based Web site for travellers, uses Mashup Server for a vertical search engine to comb the Web for flight prices.

"The reason we built it was around 2004, our clients, which are business travel agencies, were having a problem with the Internet fares," said Thorvald Stigsen, CEO of Momondo. "They used booking sites or booking engines, which don't have access to all the low-cost carriers. So we selected the Kapow platform and developed a number of robots that scanned all the low-cost carrier sites in Europe and beyond."

Currently, Momondo researches 246 sites using Kapow's technology. "The speed is very impressive," Stigsen said.

Momondo has faced a challenge with JavaScript, through which different airlines made it difficult to scrape their pages. But Version 6.2 fixes some of the issues related to JavaScript execution, Stigsen said.

Also new in the release is improved Web-clipping capabilities for Web pages that use JavaScript and Flash. Web clipping involves the ability to clip a piece of a page.

Another addition in Version 6.2 is full support for the Firefox browser. New methods to collect content from Excel spreadsheets are featured as well.