Kapow Web Data Server 7 Smoothes Enterprise Data Flows
The announcement that Kapow Technologies (news, site) has just put the latest version of its Web Data Server -- better known as its  Mashup Server -- on general release should be of interest to anyone who is looking at their Web 2.0 apps for cost savings.

While a lot of companies claim a lot of things about their products, Kapow Technologies' financial success and growth over the past two years has backed up those claims principally as a result of some very serious software.

With the v7.0 release Mashup Server boasts enhanced scalability and performance -- and there are few other interesting bonuses as well.

Kapow’s Robots

In the old days, before the new version was released, the Mashup Server was a developer-friendly platform that enabled users to build mashup solutions with the flick of a keystroke, even if the content domain didn’t have the appropriate mashup-friendly infrastructure.

It did this by giving data a context which enables it to be used for other applications. So, for example, developers could process content from RSS feeds as well as regular web content and transform that data into another format, or integrate with an enterprise content management system.

Kapow_architecture_2009.jpg

The Kapow Mashup Architecture
 

None of this requires any coding, courtesy of the Kapow ‘robots’. Using standard web protocols, the robots can automate navigation and interaction with web applications and provide secure access to the underlying data.

The result, the company says, is that new applications can be developed in a tenth of the time and costs normally incurred with:

  • Web and business intelligence
  • Service and web oriented architecture
  • Portal generation
  • Content migration

The ability to create and use these robots is based on role-based authentication and authorization. Roles can be defined for the creation, editing and executing of robots. All reporting and monitoring capabilities also utilize these roles.

More Efficient Mashups

So what's different this time? Well, the basis of the Kapow Web Data Server is that it allows for data extraction and enrichment into local disk files in CSV, XML and RSS formats and turns them into other formats like HTML, Javascript, PDF or Excel.

No, it doesn’t happen with a magic wand, but unless you really, really need to know how it works there is actually no need to find out.

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Kapow Content Migration abilities
 

And then there are six different editions of it ranging from the Standard Edition to the Advanced Management Module via the API and Database Modules.

What they all have in common in v7.0 is a number of new features that previous versions did not have.

They include:

  • Complete Browser Compliance with ability to extract and digest data from all browsers and complex web sources including AJAX-heavy sites.
  • Content siphoning through URL blocking that prevents unwanted content from being uploaded improving runtime and CPU performance.
  • Scalable abilities with file downloads enabling real-time enterprise size downloads if required.
  • Automatic content updating with a browser-based scheduler.
  • Easy integration with existing enterprise systems with RoboServer Authentication.

While the Standard Edition delivers output in standard formats like XML, CSV and RSS for easy consumption, the other editions have specific variations depending on user needs.

This means, for the Database Module and API Module, outputs are delivered to an SQL database or SOAP and REST services.

Clean Data

In all cases though, the server performs all data transformation—or cleansing— including converting dates on web pages into standard formats, removing or replacing specified HTML tags, and cleaning text and extra spaces from the content.

By their own admission, Kapow says they are specifically targeting Fortune 1000 companies so you know this is not going to be cheap, but there’s no sign of a price list on their website.

It is available now so if you think you might have the need check it out. If not and you just want information on the emerging web data services market you might want to have a look at their blog, which has all kinds of interesting and useful tid-bits on it.