Last week JackBe announced the formation of the Open Mashup Alliance to support an XML-extension specification called EMML (Enterprise Mashup Markup Language). JackBe is a leading boutique mashup platform vendor and EMML is their mashup language. They are the only ones using it now but they have “donated” it to the cause of mashup executable standards. A nice post by Dion Hinchcliffe gives a great summary of the OMA effort. It should be noted that, as of yet, there is no open spec alternative to OMA/EMML for mashup portability.
OMA is a noble effort. The primary benefit to enterprises if EMML gains support comes in the form of mashup portability. This means that if I build a mashup or mashable using EMML then I can run it more easily in any other mashup vendor technology environment that supports EMML. Currently, if you build a mashable using Serena it won’t run in a JackBe environment and vice versa. This creates vendor lock-in which, as you can imagine, vendors don’t mind so much. But especially in an emerging technology market like mashups, it can scare buyers off the effort. And it definitely makes them think twice about a smaller boutique vendor like JackBe. If EMML adoption takes off it will be good for buyers and good for boutiques.
It should come as no surprise that the megavendors (IBM, Microsoft, Oracle) are not members of OMA. What does this mean? It definitely makes adoption more challenging. It also puts the onus on you, the mashup technology buyer. Is mashup portability important to you? OMA/EMML gives buyers a good opportunity to ask vendors about their mashup standards strategy. If not EMML, then what?
Gartner just published a report on this topic entitled “Open Mashup Alliance Needs More Support to Create Standardization” (available to the general public).
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