Serena's mashup exchange for business

Software applications company launches Mashup Composer, an exchange that allows its partners to build, buy and sell business mashups.

Serena Software kicked off its Chicago developer conference on Monday by making available a software-as-a-service mashup exchange that enables its partners to build, buy and sell business mashups.

Mashup Composer is a Web 2.0 tool that enables users to visually design mashups that automate business activities. Presented as one of the highlights at the Serena xChange conference, the tool is designed to address projects that individually are too small to warrant dedicated IT support.

Mashups, which have previously been the sole domain of specialist Web developers, combine data from multiple sources to create an integrated Web application. Also referred to as "custom applications," business mashups are sometimes lauded as being capable of bringing gains in productivity and creativity without burdening the IT department.

Skeptics of business mashups argue that the technology traditionally exists in a nonbusiness environment, and that it may not have evolved enough.

"I believe that the enterprise can adapt and adopt what goes on in the wider context of a typical Web-user environment and bring it into a relevant framework for business. The concepts are exactly the same, it's just about visualizing the solution on a larger scale," said Rene Bonvanie, Serena's senior vice president of marketing, partners and online services.

"Given the right tools and the opportunity to build in a SOA environment, business developers can build business mashups that can be deployed to a data center behind the security of a firewall. However, given the trend for every new application to be managed 'up in the clouds,' it can be simply managed on the Web itself via our on-demand SaaS (software as a service) offering."

Serena says it will provide an online marketplace where "mashers" can exchange prepackaged mashups, Web services and professional services.

Adrian Bridgwater of ZDNet UK reported from Chicago.

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