Open Mashup Alliance announced

I’m happy to report that the Open Mashup Alliance has been officially announced. I’ve known about the formation of this group for some time now, and I’ve had to bite my tongue to prevent from leaking the information in advance.

Read the full press release here. (You might notice that I’ve joined the effort as a member as well)

I think this is a really exciting development. I know; some of you might be thinking, “Not another ‘industry alliance’. What have those ever accomplished?” Well, this one has some meat on its bones, thanks to JackBe’s donation of EMML (Enterprise Mashups Markup Language) and run-time engine to the effort.

Having a lingua franca for mashups represents a huge boost to innovations in the mashup space. Let’s say you wanted to write a SharePoint web part to support mashups. How would you do it? Would you try and figure out the proprietary schema/structure of a file created in IBM Mashup Center or perhaps Serena Mashup Composer? Would there even be a market for such a strange animal if you did create it?

Now imagine that you build it around an open standard. First of all, your life is going to be significantly easier. And you’ll be able to pull in mashups created with other tools, like JackBe (and many others, I hope). Maybe there’s someone else out there who wants to make it easy to execute mashups from an iPhone – this can be their ticket to getting started, too.

In short, having an open standard in the mashup space is great. It’s like SQL for databases, or SOAP for APIs, or HTML for browsers (ha ha – just kidding about that last one. Cross-browser testing is a nightmare!). Vendors will compete on their implementations, efficiency, and tooling, and not waste valuable time and resources creating proprietary formats designed to lock us in to particular products.

When you consider how Google shut down their mashup environment, and Microsoft discontinued Popfly it’s natural to understand why some enterprises are a little uncertain if they should venture into this space. If the OMA can pull off its goal and level the mashup playing field, firms won’t have to worry betting on the wrong vendor. It’ll be mash once, run everywhere*.

There are a lot of great companies already committed to participate, and I’m looking forward to working with them to help mashups reach their full potential.

*By the way, the allusion to Java (which famously proclaimed “Write Once, Run Anywhere”) is intentional. JackBe’s CTO is John Crupi, formerly of Sun (and Chief Architect at the Sun Java Center). I can’t help but think his time working on Java had a strong influence on his desire to help establish the OMA.

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