Friday, October 27, 2006

Nine ideas for IT managers considering Enterprise 2.0

Nine ideas for IT managers considering Enterprise 2.0

Posted by Dion Hinchcliffe @ 11:44 pm

As browser-based software, SaaS, and Web 2.0 continue to make some inroads in the enterprise, it's the lack of useful pioneer reports that hampers the early adoptors. Sure, many of us witness the often amazing trends taking place out on the Web in the form of mountains of user generated content and communication and collaboration occuring en masse via blogs and spaces. But the big question is still with us: Can the motivations and context that makes the latest generation of software on the Web so compelling, and hence popular, be made just as meaningful in the enterprise?

As we get deeper into the second decade of the Web, we've been inundated with the 2.0 generation of everything, hopefully all learning from the mistakes of the 1.0 generation. In addition to Web 2.0 itself however, we have two more important enterprise software trends: Office 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0, coined by Ismael Ghalimi and Andrew McAfee respectively. Office 2.0 represents the increasing use of browser-based software in the office, while Enterprise 2.0 is more Web 2.0-ish in that it specifically describes the use of freeform, emergent, social software to conduct collaboration and share knowledge.

For its part, Office 2.0 represents freedom from the tyranny of installing software and updates, remembering where you keep your data and your programs (it's all in the cloud with Office 2.0), and dealing with pesky things like admin rights, software versions, virus scanning, and more. Though browser-based software still has its limitations (like what happens when the server is down or you don't have a connection), it's increasingly clear that the network is going to become the pre-eminent location for most meaningful business software, if it hasn't happened already.

Enterprise 2.0 is more problematic in that it directly addresses the known weaknesses of existing IT models and platforms for helping people work together. Specifically this means the fact that corporate information tends to be non-shared by default, that the easiest productivity tools to use are the ones that have very little collaboration built-in, and that the information that does exist is often impossible to find and is often structured in some formal, centrally controlled way. Enterprise 2.0 takes on existing ingrained habits and behaviors, and recommends a carefully thought out but ultimately comprehensive change in the way we normally work together. Specifically, this means being more social, creating only essential structure and organization at first, and to prefer the use tools like blogs and wikis that are eminently shareable, searchable, and linkable.

Like Web 2.0, where visual technologies like Ajax are often the most obvious and easiest to implement aspect, Office 2.0's SaaS trappings are an important stride forward and are increasingly popular for a growing number of organizations. And like Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0 has challenges in that it tends to go against the learned behavior of many workers to keep information private until it is ready, to prevent seeing how the "sausage is really made." Certainly, increased transparency, some loss of control over information flow, and outright abuse of low-barrier Intranet publishing tools gives enterprise IT and business leaders pause for thought.

But most organizations already understand that spreadsheets, presentation files, e-mails, word processing documents, and private databases are where much of the valuable institutional information is. While centralized "big IT" systems do a lot of routine record keeping, the heart and soul of an organization in the form of corporate strategies, product development plans, project notes, key performance metrics, and so on is really kept in e-mail folders and user's directories. And while some of it must remain under strict control, particularly in public companies, much of it is unnessarily — and usually to a fault — hidden, unreused, and unexploited.

Fortunately, though Enterprise 2.0, a corporate mirror held up to the bustle and vibrancy of mass information discovery and sharing on the Web, has a lot of challenges ahead of it, we are starting to see IT managers considering it. And while I get to watch The Irregulars debate it on a regular basis, some good information is finally coming out on how to deal with the cultural, organizational, technical, and people issues around Enterprise 2.0. Here's the list I've put together so far, I hope you enjoy it.

  1. It's about ease-of-use, first and foremost. As a recent Internet list rightly proclaimed, "EASY is the most important feature of any website, web app, or program." Blogs, wikis, and other Enterprise 2.0 apps have to be the easiest thing to use. Preferably much easier than the tools users have now or they won't start using them. While many people use the office productivity software they have now because they have no choice, the fact is, they are quite familiar with them and they're too busy to learn new tools even if they work better. So if you want adoption, you're very limited in the learning tax you can impose. And hopefully your selected Enterprise 2.0 platform will encourage the right behavior (extremely easy and obvious ways to tag, link, etc.) Just remember that every good Web application on the Internet requires essentially zero training, if it didn't do this users would just go to the next easiest tool. That means spare, clean application that aren't encrusted with features, gizmos, and links. And make sure the software makes the right things easy to do and the wrong things hard.
  2. Change requires motivation. Provide it. I just said in the previous point to require no training for Enterprise 2.0 tools. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't explain what's going on. Changing the default stance from keeping most information a worker has private to making much of it public is a big alteration in behavior and expectation. Explain the reasoning behind retaining more knowledge, in making it public, searchable, and organizing it via tagging. Describe the benefits of being able to access much fresher and more up-to-date information elsewhere in the organization because their colleagues are managing more of their projects, tasks, and other work via social tools. Whether this is via internal e-mail updates, online screencasts, corporate podcasts, or Intranet home page news, makes little difference as long as you do it. Get the word out, evangelize, and don't forget to explain how and where blogs, wikis — or whatever your selected Enterprise 2.0 tool is — can be easily accessed by those in the organization.
  3. Emergent doesn't mean a blank slate. Empty blogs and wikis usually stay empty blogs and wikis. And keep in mind that all systems tend towards disorder naturally, so the freeform aspect of Enterprise 2.0 may tend towards anarchy faster than other systems without some initial, elemental structure. Wikipedia provides article formats, the blogging world has structured blogging, and even things like MySpace tend to have conventions that are widely understood. Provide useful templates for common activities and reference material such as projects, tasks, resource management, policies, procedures, standards, and so on. You still have to keep template layouts and template usage simple; excessive structure tends to kill the golden goose of contributions quickly. But a little basic structure goes a long way and prevents contributors from having to figure out how to structure all the white space and provide a simple layer of consistency.
  4. Discoverability isn't an afterthought, it's the core. Google and other search engines made the Web usable. The enterprise has not caught up, largely because most enterprise information doesn't allow a hyperlink structure, and links aren't encouraged very much when it does. McAfee recommends setting up blog and wiki directories as well as good enterprise search based on link ranking (which is what Google does to make the right information come up in the first few pages of search results.) Enterprise 2.0 tools should also extract folksonomies and other structural information (from microformats and XML tags) into discoverability mechanisms like tags lists and clouds, making user organization schemes obvious, public, and emergent. One easy trap to fall into is to assume your existing enterprise search will do the job. It probably won't, so be sure that it's well integrated into your Enterprise 2.0 effort, perhaps by offering a blog or wiki search option. Provide your own search engine in the tools only if you must.
  5. It's OK to fear loss of control and misuse. But it's critical to put the fires out instead of preventing them altogether. Rod Boothby recently put out a good list of online software myths, and the first one is "the anarchy on the open net is going to translate into chaos internally." Rod believes that most people will avoid misusing Enterprise 2.0-style tools because they won't want to suffer the consequences of looking foolish in front of their colleagues. And while I believe that may be true for most folks, there will always be those that just don't know any better. And there will be accidents. This boils down to having some form of moderation, either human or automated, to ensure that the level of discourse remains at some bare minimimum acceptable standard. Again, like most social forums, this usually requires a very light touch since the chilling effect of publically censoring someone on an Intranet is likely to ripple through an organization. But the corporate skin will just have to get thicker too, like it does on the Internet where all Wikipedia entries are said to be "edited mercilessly" clearly on each editing screen. Intervene only when absolutely necessary and be ready to play the master diplomat with senior management. Yes, letting things "hang out" more than before will take some getting used to but the premise is that it's worth it.
  6. Dynamic, effective advocates are a key enabler. Want to ensure a low rate of adoption? Give tools to folks that aren't motivated, energetic, and have a positive attitude towards your new tools. Finding vocal advocates that really care about your Enterprise 2.0 pilot project might be hard but if you find one, like any IT project, it can make the results happen an order of magnitude faster and easier. External advocates tend to have more credibility, can point to demonstrable, concrete results, and can also provide a rich vein of experience for those that follow after (and yes, hopefully already captured in an online, shared forum somewhere in the enterprise.) The botton line: The time spent finding an internal advocate is invariably worth it, even if it takes a while. A high-profile executive sponsor that obviously uses the tools can also help in a big way.
  7. The problems will be with the business culture, not the technology. While you have to cross your t's and dot your i's by making sure you've picked effective, low-barrier, corporate-grade Enterprise 2.0 tools, the real issue, day in and day out, with getting Enterprise 2.0 to take off is to educate, evangelize, demonstrate, and most importantly, evolve the interface and structure of your tools until you pick the right formula that resonates with your audience. Making it easy for users to give you lots of feedback (again, hopefully very easy to do) is critical and listening to it is even more important. Give users what they want within reason or they'll use the tools they prefer. This is the lesson that the Web has also taught us but that lack of software competition on the enterprise has stifled. And if they don't see immediate benefit from use of the tools, be ready to spend time to fully understand why.
  8. Triggering an Enterprise 2.0 ecosystem quickly is likely an early activity driver. This can mean a lot of things but the link structure of Web tools allows information to quickly flow, circulate, and mesh together. You can leverage this in a almost infinite number of ways to drive user activity, interesting content, create awareness of what the company is "thinking", and more. For example, create a blog for every employee in the company and mail the link to them with instructions on how to use it. Create a social bookmarking site for the enterprise where everyone can see what is being bookmarked by everyone else that day. Create an internal Wikipedia that contains a seperate copy of all Intranet content and let users edit away. The possibilities are endless and provide a much greater number of "entry points" where people can get started with these tools.
  9. Allow the tools to access enterprise services. Moving the massive volumes of data and the growing landscape of services into Enterprise 2.0 tools, mashup style, is likely a large value add, though again, we mostly have the lessons of the Web to help us here. Allowing the output of SQL queries to be inserted into wikis when they load, calling Web services or using Flash badges that access data resources can turn Enterprise 2.0 tools from pure knowledge management into actual hybrids of software and data. Uploading spreadsheets and other documents should be easy too. And the reverse should be true as well, getting data back out into traditional tools including Office documents, PDFs, and XML must be easy to inspire trust and lower barriers to use.

There's undoubtedly many more ideas on how to apply Enterprise 2.0 but these are likely to be many of the important ones when planning and implementing an Enterprise 2.0 project. From monitoring and content moderation, to keeping the tools open and making the data they contain searchable, there's a balance required to keep good things happening and bad things from occuring. Just like the Web, sharing and searching can cut both ways and you're the lifeguard that lets people in the pool, but prevents them from drowning. And be sure to drop me a line if you actively working on an Enterprise 2.0 project, I'd love to hear more.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Enterprise Ajax

JackBe

Like any new web technology there is sometimes the misconception that it can be used and implemented within the enterprise the same as with public consumer web applications. This is natural because these consumer-facing applications often are constrained the way enterprises are and can act on new technologies and approaches faster. This is true with Ajax.

Think of a car analogy. If you put a fancy Ferrari body on top of a Pinto frame and engine what do you have? From a distance you can say you have a Ferrari but to those who have to get up-close, interact with, and maybe even drive it; its still run’s like a Pinto.

Now consider enterprise web applications. With the coming out party of open-source Ajax widgets enterprises believe that by ‘bolting’ some of these free snippets (little Ajax eye candy pieces to make a site look and feel better to the user) onto existing apps is all that is needed to say “Yes, we’re doing Ajax.” But think about it. All that is being done is similar to the scenario above whether business managers realize it or not. If they don’t, they are really getting shortchanged on the business activity optimizing gains from Enterprise Ajax.

To garner the full benefits, enterprises need to carefully calculate how to implement an Ajax enterprise strategy that not only provides the basic improved user experience but can enhance the entire set of capabilities as well. Enterprise Ajax is in fact an architectural strategy so as to marry the best of what Ajax has to offer with enterprise architectures such as SOA while making sure that security, scalability, reliability and governance are correctly taken care of. Enterprise Ajax enables enterprises to leverage the best of Rich Internet Applications and Service-Oriented enterprise Applications with the specific goal of optimizing any and all business operations of an enterprise while guarding access by authorized people to the correct information assets and ensuring delivery and proper execution.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Tacit Interactions and Enterprise Applications

http://www.jackbe.com/blogs/index.php/2006/10/09/tacit-interactions/


Many have been talking about a recent issue of the McKinsey Quarterly that speaks of what they call “Tacit Interactions”. When people consider Enterprise 2.0 / Web 2.0 / Office 2.0 tools such as blogs and wikis, they need to consider these tools in the context of these tacit interactions. Tacit being ad hoc or on the fly and this represents 40% of a typical business day time according to McKinsey. Dion Hinchcliffe and Tony DiRomualdo do a good job explaining this in more detail as does the blog Enterprise Web 2.0. These are not the routine transactional activities but rather the interactions are complex and ambiguous, requiring high levels of judgment and problem-solving. People involved in tacit interactions must often draw on deep experience and combine with available data, and the output of integrated data.

Over the years companies have boosted their productivity by improving the efficiency of transformational activities but have to some extent maxed out the economical IT efficiencies of these activities. In other words, throwing more hardware and software isn’t necessarily going to bring about the same efficiency gains that we’ve seen before.

To realize greater ROI from new applications, the focus of Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0 presents has been about putting more power in the users hands to make these other non-transactional activates better, faster, and easier. Easier said then done when one realizes this involves deriving value from unstructured and possibly dispersed data.

Tacit interactions require a whole different organizational style and structure than transactional interactions. While one can improve transformational interactions through process design, and improve transactional interactions by providing scripts and structures, tacit interactions require loose boundaries, flat hierarchy, individual empowerment to innovate, and an emphasis on learning over time.

It is no surprise then that the tools such a person uses has to be as adaptable as the individual capable of handling the characteristics above. Tools that empower end users and finally help them help themselves with what information they want, when, and how they want it.

This has been the bottle-neck as I see it with software to date. Attempts have been made with business intelligence tools and portal but now with fine-grained services being exposed in greater numbers and client-side technologies that can consume these on the scene now, it seems we may be closer to empowering end users and finally helping them help themselves with what information they want, when and how they want it.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

AJAX issues debated

AJAX issues debated
Filed under: Application Development

Multiple issues around AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) were raised at the AJAXWorld Conference and Expo on Wednesday, including debate over lightweight vs. heavy development frameworks.

Lightweight frameworks are those considered to be AJAX-based, while heavy frameworks include those needing desktop-based technologies such as plug-ins, said conference panelists during an evening session.

"I would have to say, of course, the end user experience needs to be totally lightweight," said Chris Schalk, a product manager and JavaServer Faces evangelist at Oracle. Lightweight technology is needed for interacting with legacy systems, he said.

"AJAX compared to other RIA (rich Internet application) technologies definitely could be defined as lightweight," said Jouk Pleiter, general manager of Backbase. "With AJAX itself, I think there is a little confusion in the market," over the use of JavaScript and different frameworks and other elements, according to Pleiter.

"The term, AJAX, has meant a lot of things to many people," said Kevin Hakman, product marketing manager for Tibco General Interface.

"I think right now, to be clear, AJAX is chaos right now," Pleiter said.

"It's a total mess because everybody is trying to create his own AJAX legacy," said Pleiter. On the positive side, Pleiter cited self-service applications and application modernization projects as examples of where AJAX is beneficial.

The panel noted the OpenAJAX Alliance is addressing issues with AJAX.

Panelists also raised the question of why Microsoft is not participating in OpenAJAX. "Most people in the alliance would be happy if they joined," Schalk said.

A co-founder of the Dojo JavaScript toolkit serving on the panel noted that the technology must keep on top of things. "[With] Dojo, I feel like we're being chased by everyone out there in the world and if we don't keep running as fast as we can, nobody is going to use Dojo in two years," said Dojo co-founder Dylan Scheimann.

Earlier in the day, technology executives during one panel session discussed whether companies need a Web 2.0 strategy. That conversation then branched off into another critical issue already touched upon at the conference: AJAX security.

A Web 2.0 strategy is needed, said Luis Derechin, CEO of JackBe. "Anything that's this big and making such an impact in the consumer space ultimately will get into the enterprise," Derechin said. But companies putting together such a strategy should concentrate on what they are trying to achieve, said Juho Risku, CEO of Helmi.

Technologies associated with Web 2.0 include AJAX and Flash, said Pleiter, who served on both the daytime and evening panels. He cited an example of a call center being fitted with Web 2.0 technology to improve efficiency.

AJAX, meanwhile, makes it easier to fill out Web forms, he said. "With AJAX technology, you can reduce a form that was 30 steps to [a complete form] in one screen and you can really make it easy," Pleiter said.

Security, though, remain an issue with AJAX, although AJAX is certainly not the only platform that must deal with it, panelists said.

"People think there's more risk in AJAX," and there is not, Derechin said.

Pleiter advised using the same technology set that companies have already used to handle security. There have been issues in client-side JavaScript security but they have always been there, he said.

Details on improvements planned for the Eclipse AJAX Toolkit Framework (ATF) also were discussed at the show. These improvements include debugger enhancements, robust JavaScript tooling and multiple browser support. Eclipse also is trying to get ATF to function with the Macintosh embeddable browser but is having trouble, said Robert Goodman, a senior programmer at IBM and a project lead for ATF.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

JackBe Releases Presto Rich Enterprise Application Platform

Ebizq

JackBe, a Rich Enterprise Application (REA) software company, today announced its Presto REA platform, a comprehensive solution for delivering enterprise Ajax applications based on SOA and Web services.


ebizQ received the following details:

Applications built on the Presto platform gain business-class reliability, scalability, and service governance. The results are highly interactive browser–based applications that help users to optimize both their regular and ad hoc activities.

Enterprises are making significant investments to create SOA infrastructures that produce SOA and Web services. The focus is now shifting to “putting a face on SOA” by enabling distributed business units to easily consume these services and thus accelerate SOA benefits and ROI. JackBe’s Presto will enable enterprises to fully realize their SOA vision through Rich Enterprise Applications deployed at the forefront of business.

The Presto REA platform offers an enterprise-grade architecture based on a complete services governance foundation, unlike consumer-grade solutions or client-side mashup tools that leave governance to the browser. Complementing Presto’s governance features are components that provide reliable Ajax messaging, dynamic combination or ‘mashup’ of disparate SOA services, development and run-time frameworks, and a browser-based studio that empowers users to address their own application needs.

“There are scores of new products designed to accelerate Ajax development and client-side mashup of Web services,” said Ron Schmelzer, senior analyst with ZapThink. “What makes JackBe’s Presto platform unique is its central focus on SOA service governance. JackBe clearly understands that governance, scalability and reliability are critical factors for enterprises as they leverage SOA and Ajax to create the next generation of rich enterprise applications.”

With the introduction of Presto, JackBe addresses the needs of enterprises wanting to empower business units with more flexible and productive use of core processes, logic and data while maintaining stringent access governance, reliability, and scalability. Presto enables governed access to internal services, enterprise data sources, and pre-defined external (third-party) Web services through powerful professional developer and business user development environments.

“JackBe was delivering Ajax-based applications within major enterprises long before the term ‘Ajax’ had even been coined,” commented Dion Hinchcliffe, noted Web 2.0 visionary and CEO of consulting firm Hinchcliffe & Company. “Today’s announcement extends that vision by recognizing the tremendous business value that can be delivered with a multi-tier platform that directly extends SOA with Ajax. JackBe’s new Presto platform will make the development of Ajax-based Rich Enterprise Applications faster and easier, but its real game-changing potential is to empower business users to create their own situational or ‘tacit’ applications based on rapidly changing needs.”

“Our new platform goes beyond current enterprise Web 2.0 technologies to help optimize and streamline the actual business activities, increasing the speed and accuracy of decision-making by business professionals,” said JackBe CEO and co-founder Luis Derechin. “These ’long tail’ composite applications integrate other existing SOA services and processes to address high-value business needs that would not be funded or built based on traditional IT priorities.”

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

REA is to RIA, as Enterprise Web 2.0 is to Web 2.0

MikeWagner
JackBe coined the term Rich Enterprise Applications (REA) as an evolution of Rich Internet Applications (RIA). RIA is to Web-grade applications as REA is to Enterprise-grade applications. The side pic. is my personal attempt to illustrate this visually. Some like it; some don’t, so comments are more than welcomed.
So What is Enterprise Grade?

Enterprises require tighter control, security, and reliability. In short they require a degree of governance that the average user building a Google Maps Mashup while sitting at their kitchen table doesn’t need. This should be no surprise to anyone who has worked for large organizations.

People have heard a lot about Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 lately. I can see a similarity here that I think might help to distinguish between these two, and REA and RIA. Most of the talk surrounding Web 2.0 has been focused on the social collaborative aspects that it brings to users. I agree with this. Now take all of this (Web 2.0) and enable governance and security and commercial-grade reliability and you have a Web 2.0 model that is fit for an enterprise (Enterprise 2.0)

Following the same logic let’s look at RIA and REA. RIA has brought enhanced desktop-like look and feel to web applications. It looks, feels, and from a user perspective, performs a lot better than some we-based apps of only a few years ago. Let me clarify that this richness is all done in the browser which is perfectly fine for all of the Real estate mashups popping up everyday. You know the ones with balloons imprinted over a map. I like them; nothing wrong with them. It puts the control and build in the hands of the users; they can do what they want as long as they have access to the services which when these are exposed to the client means anything.

Hopefully, maybe you can see where I’m going with this. Enterprises want to encourage this new Web 2.0 movement within the organization to leverage the network effect and value it brings, but because of what I mentioned earlier, organizations have to impose a slightly different model called Enterprise 2.0. Given this, and Enterprise 2.0 requirements, RIA needs added capabilities forreal Enterprise 2.0 grade applications. They need the richness of RIA but with the governance that Enterprise 2.0 mandates. Boom, we have Rich Enterprise Applications that extend the attribute of RIA past the client and into the Enterprise’s resources and enterprises can feel comfortable in doing this because REA has this added governance portion.

Presto REA Platform

http://www.jackbe.com/blogs/

We’re very excited at JackBe to be announcing Presto, our Rich Enterprise Application (REA) Platform. Presto helps organizations optimize business activity, leveraging existing SOA investments and facilitating the development of rich, interactive Ajax-based applications.

I blogged recently about some different architectural approaches to combining SOA and Ajax and pointed out that a server-side proxy approach is key to supporting many of the the non-functional requirements so common in today’s Enterprise service infrastructure. Additionally, this approach allows for optimization over the wire between the browser and server (as opposed to focusing on SOAP from the browser) and supporting strong governance of the service infrastructure on the back end.

Presto is focused on just this sort of approach, supporting the creation of highly interactive and responsive applications, built on a governed service infrastructure and reliable and scalable web connectivity: Rich Enterprise Applications.

We hope to not only help people create better applications but to help people build the right applications. What is the right application? It’s what’s needed to get the job done. In what has been referred to as the Long Tail of Enterprise Software there is an unmet demand for many small IT systems that could enable tacit interactions within a business.

To help address this issue, Presto enables the creation of ad-hoc, situational applications, supporting the development of service and process-based mashup applications, while maintaining strong support for service governance, security, scalability, and reliability.

We believe this will help bring together SOA and Ajax in ways that will help organizations maximize the value of their existing technology investments. Lots more to come on this front in the near future and please let us know if you would like to learn more.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

JackBe Aims to Work Magic with SOA and AJAX

JackBe has developed a new development and deployment platform that takes advantage of the strengths of both Asynchronous JavaScript and XML-style development and service-oriented architecture.

At the AJAXWorld conference in Santa Clara, Calif., the week of Oct. 2, JackBe, of Chevy Chase, Md., will launch Presto, its new REA (Rich Enterprise Application) platform, which will leverage the strengths of both SOA and AJAX to enable enterprises to tap into underlying business services to create rich Internet applications.

Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, RIA, SaaS, Office 2.0

John Crupi, chief technology officer at JackBe, said that AJAX helps to put a face on SOA, and the new Presto platform enables typical business users to become developers and to address their own application needs by building what Crupi refers to as "situational applications."

However, unlike other so-called Web 2.0 technologies that tend to leave governance to the browser, JackBe's solution presents a secure, scalable enterprise-grade architecture to provide governance of applications and services, Crupi said.

Indeed, as business logic is distributed to the client, testing, debugging and managing rich clients is becoming a real challenge for enterprises.

And "What companies like JackBe bring to the table is their ability not only to deliver AJAX capabilities, but real enterprise applications that run on the client as well as they would on a server," said Ronald Schmelzer, a Baltimore-based analyst with ZapThink.

Formerly known internally at JackBe by the code name Project Renaissance, the new Presto platform consists of four primary parts: a development tier, a client tier, an AJAX Service Bus, and a service tier consisting of a Service Gateway and Enterprise Mashup Server.

The development tier consists of an Eclipse-based PDE (Power Developer Environment) and a browser-based BDE (Business Developer Environment).

eWEEK.com Special Report: Service-Oriented Architecture

The client tier is based on JackBe's existing NQ AJAX development and deployment framework.

The ASB (AJAX Service Bus) is a browser-to-server messaging component that provides secure, bi-directional, single-connection network messaging, Crupi said.

In addition, the ASB brings to the enterprise the capability to extend an ESB (enterprise service bus) and middleware through to the browser, he said.

"If customers were to try to do it themselves, they would have to write a lot of middleware," Crupi said.

Meanwhile, the product's Service Gateway enables SOA service governance and security, including user authentication and service access authorization, Crupi said.

The product's Enterprise Mashup Server enables user-driven declarative and real-time multi-server and business activity mashups, he said.

Corey Isaacson, chief executive of Rogue Wave Software, a division of Quovadx, based in Englewood, Colo., said customers are demanding cutting-edge solutions that solve real-world business needs.

Rogue Wave Hydra is a high-performance SOA framework for mission-critical applications.

"JackBe's Presto REA platform extends that same high level of performance as it consumes and combines the SOA services produced by Hydra within powerful and scalable business applications, while ensuring security and governance," Isaacson said.

PointerClick here to read more about JackBe gaining top engineering and management talent from Sun.

In addition, Isaacson said he expects to see the partnership between Rogue Wave and JackBe "help customers to deploy rich, interactive, and high-performance enterprise applications based on SOA and AJAX."

Moreover, "Users want to be more activity driven," Crupi said. "They want to integrate activities in the form of mashups."

And Crupi said Presto brings "[Sybase] PowerBuilder-like ease and power to the Web, while providing deep security and governance."

The Presto platform is poised to take advantage of the opportunity where enterprises are looking to enable business users to compose services into SOBAs (Service-Oriented Business Applications) that implement business processes in a flexible, agile manner, said Jason Bloomberg, an analyst with ZapThink.

Yet, this is not possible without some sort of governance model, which JackBe has baked into its Presto offering.

The technology will be available in the first quarter of 2007, the company said.

Crupi said the new Web 2.0 applications require a tiered architecture, which JackBe delivers.

"We have a completely tiered architecture—everything we have is pluggable and maintainable," he said.

Crupi and his team joined JackBe from Sun Microsystems Inc. in April. Crupi is a former Sun distinguished engineer.