There's a Connector for That
Rarely do we only work with one product or solution. We have our information tied up in any number of systems and often we try to pull this information together to make our lives a little easier. To do that, we need connectors, content connectors, and just about every vendor that speaks to data, or content, integration has more than a few in their back pocket. Want to connect to SharePoint? There's a connector for that. Open Text? There's a connector for that. Alfresco, well darn if there isn't a connector for that as well.
In fact, there is typically more than one connector for most of the popular Enterprise CMS, Web CMS, Enterprise 2.0 system and the multitude of business applications available. It just depends on who you ask (and let's not even get into the CMIS discussion).
But what if you want to integrate data from a system for which there is no connector, no API? And you don't have the time to build one (because we all know how long building one can take and we need to integrate that data now). Well...
There's a Browser for That
Kapow Software (notice the new brand), has announced a new way to do data integration that they say is the future of data integration. And you don't need an API to do it. At the Gartner Application Architecture, Development and Integration Summit, in Los Angeles, the Kapow Katalyst 8.0 was unveiled. You would probably know Katalyst best as the Kapow Web Data Server, last updated this past May.
As the new name likely implies, this isn't a simple update. Kapow Katalyst offers an agile approach to integration, one that requires no APIs. At the core of the solution is the Kapow Extraction Browser. This browser enables you to extract data automatically from any application that is available as a web application. You can extract data from any layer: database, application logic or presentation tier, transform it, integrate it and/or migrate it.
Once the data is extracted, it can then be delivered as an API or web service, into a database or other system via the front end.
Of course if you do have APIs and you want to use them, Katalyst 8.0 does support integration using them as well.
Kapow Software's Katalyst 8.0
The Management Console
The Management Console is the underlying web management console that will allow you to manage and collaborate across the organization on all your data integration projects. Through it, you can monitor all your environments, manage the robots built to extract and transform your data, manage your users and permissions, schedule processes and more.
The Design Studio
The Design Studio is the latest version of Robomaker (which we profiled in the Kapow Content Migration article). This is a completely revamped design studio that will let you set up your robots. There is a browser view that lets you see the HTML or XML sources and there's the Robot flow view where you can create Robots using Kapow's visual scripting application.
The Robo Server
Finally the Robo Server is the execution engine that operates the Extraction Browser based on the robots that were created in the Design Studio. It also supports the ability to run the Extraction browser without a presentation interface and integrates with a number of monitoring systems using the standard SNMP/JMX protocol.
A Different Approach to Data Integration
It is true that Kapow is offering a different approach to data integration. This is not unproven technology. Kapow has offered a number of use cases where customers have used Katalyst and the Extraction Browser and reduced the development time of applications requiring data from multiple sources dramatically.
The idea of being able to extract data from any system without the need of an API is intriguing. It would make application development a lot easier. Of course, this is proprietary technology so we aren't ever going to exactly understand how it all works under the hood. But we can dig a little deeper and provide you an in-depth look. Stay tuned for that.