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IBM harnesses Web data flow

IBM's new, free Web Intermediary Developer Kit for Java provides a framework for creating intermediary applications.

In an attempt to give Web developers and users more control over the flow and customization of Web data, IBM today released a free Java-based software toolkit that provides a new class of applications known as "Web intermediaries."

IBM's Web Intermediary (WBI) Developer Kit for Java, which can be downloaded from IBM's alphaWorks Web site, provides a framework for creating intermediary applications.

Intermediaries monitor and modify the flow of Web data between clients, servers, and proxies. For example, they can produce personalized content, connect local and remote information on the Web, route Web traffic, translate protocols, or translate document formats.

"As the World Wide Web becomes a more complex arena for e-business and information management, people are tapping into it with many devices, even digital assistants, mobile phones, and other pervasive computing devices," Rob Barrett, the IBM Research scientist, said in a statement. "Moreover, businesses need to manipulate and coordinate information across many different servers.

"Web intermediaries can provide the 'smart pipes' that automatically transform and customize a broad range of Web-based content so everyone can receive the information in the way they need it," he added.

The WBI Developer Kit contains about 80 percent of the code and most of the application program interfaces needed to create fully functional Web intermediaries. As a result, intermediaries made using the WBI Development Kit can run anywhere--on the local client machine, a proxy server, or the content server--and in each place they provide the same programming model, IBM said.

At its core, WBI is a programmable HTTP proxy server. IBM's Web Intermediary Developer Kit provides a new programmable control point for building Web applications; a set of developer resources for building applications; and a run-time environment for deploying these applications.