JackBe, one of the early movers into the data “mashup” space, has seen that market evolve into real-time intelligence. That involves understanding the patterns of information flow. JackBe today released its latest version of Mashup Sites for SharePoint (MS4SP), with new features including support for SharePoint 2010 and mobile devices.
For people using SharePoint, that means handling the flow of information into SharePoint from other sources; handling the flow out of SharePoint to other platforms; and handling the flow of information across disparate SharePoint sites, site collections and instantiations.
“SharePoint, because it’s viral in nature, presents challenges. It’s difficult to integrate with existing systems,” said Chris Warner, JackBe’s vice president of marketing. “Mashups are a means to that end.”
Dan Malks, vice president of JackBe’s application platform, said Business Data Connectivity and the Business Connectivity Services within SharePoint are limited in what they can do, and they pretty much always require developer support. “A mere mortal can’t build a BCS definition,” he said.
“Plus, BCS is restricted to a single service, or a single database table. What we do is pull from multiple information sources into SharePoint.” Those sources might include e-mail files, back-end databases or other instances of SharePoint running in the organization, he said.
MS4SP is designed to facilitate a real-time intelligence life cycle, Malks said, with visual tools for assembling data-based applications and dashboards as Web parts.
Malks explained that information is stored in multiple sources, requiring multiple feeds to access the information, and then visual mashups can be created and ultimately entered into an enterprise “app store,” where people compiling these mashed-up applications can choose which elements they want to include in their business intelligence application.
“Users pull applications together to create dashboards, and then they visually wire them together,” Malks said. He added that JackBe’s platform supports the SharePoint connections framework, with which users can wire lists to applications to start to build out real-time dashboards. The company’s Presto App Maker enables users to put a “view”—such as a Gantt chart or map—on top of mashed-up data. JackBe’s mashup tools are AJAX- and Flash-based visual frameworks for presentation, he said.
From there, information applications can be pushed out to portals or mobile devices, Malks said. “They are native SharePoint Web parts, but you can put the URL into a browser and get a native version on those devices,” he explained. JackBe’s Presto visual mashup tool creates those renderings for the developer, he said. “If you’re moving applications out of SharePoint, you must be cognizant of the delivery point.”
The new version allows mashup creators to implement their applications in both Flash and HTML5 for delivery to all mobile smartphones, Malks said.
The company is hosting a webcast on March 2 at noon EDT entitled “Bring Real-Time BI to Your SharePoint Environment.” Interested parties can register to attend.