IBM has created a new technology to secure "mashups" -- Web applications that can be constructed and utilized by everyday business folk, that pull information from multiple sources, such as Web sites, enterprise databases, or emails. These sources unite to form a single unified view that provides functionality greater than the sum of its parts. According to TMCnet, IBM says that its new technology is codenamed “SMash”, for “secure mashup”.
It is important to note the "secure" in this codename, as it addresses specific issues regarding the security of mashup technology. With various web technologies communicating and sharing data with one another in a mashup, there is an inherent security risk involved. IBM's SMash technology keeps code and data from each source separated, while allowing controlled sharing of the data through a secure communication channel -- hopefully keeping mashedup information safe and secure.
Reductionism is a process in which all strategies and implementations are “atomized” down to small functional pieces, with each piece understanding how it can link and work with other pieces to serve as a component in a new functional assembly. Kind of like an organic cell. Indeed, the best mashup would resemble a biological organism wherein the user would simply specify the kind of application he or she needed, and the components would intelligently figure out among themselves how to assemble themselves in a way that satisfies the need -- pretty far out.
For now, however, mashups remain a promising new breed of web application and yet another way to deliver trusted information on demand. IBM refers to the capabilities for delivering information on demand in such a way as Info 2.0 -- a term we may be hearing a lot more of in the near future.
Mash-ups in the enterprise world are assembled with an emphasis on content, collaboration and reuse within a community of users. They allow tech-savvy domain experts to unburden IT from the task of formal application development, freeing up resources and letting them focus on new business challenges by creating applications that might have been unaffordable or of lower priority within the IT budget.
For IBM, mashup technology may eventually hold the key to “goal-oriented computing” in which users specify what they want their systems to do and then let the onboard intelligence work out the processes involved, allowing various strategies to be automatically and intelligently implemented.