Last Thursday, I attended the Enterprise OpenSocial Interop Fest in Palo Alto on behalf of eXo. We have been among the earliest adopters of OpenSocial as part of our vision to provide modern social features for enterprise Java applications.
The Interop Fest focused on demonstrating the portability of OpenSocial gadgets across enterprise containers. Along with eXo, enterprise vendors such as IBM, SAP, Cisco, Atlassian, Paypal, Jive and Liferay participated in a “hack-a-thon” style workshop to try out different gadgets and enterprise containers.
Although OpenSocial originated as a way to easily build apps for consumer social networks, its importance to enterprise application development is increasing. First, the “gadget” standard emerged as an efficient way to tackle enterprise concerns like aggregation, customization and personalization. As its popularity as an easier and faster development method increases, more enterprise considerations will have to be addressed.
Of primary importance to enterprises is interoperability – and this seems to be going in the right direction with the new PubSub2 feature of the forthcoming OpenSocial 1.1 specification. Inter-gadget communication should allow enterprises to build highly interactive mashups made of multiple components.
Another important concern discussed at the meeting is portability. An effort is now being made to identify compliance levels and provide a Compliance Test Suite. This will become crucial as OpenSocial introduces more advanced features in future versions, while many enterprise containers are still implementing older versions of the specification.
Hopefully, these efforts will encourage more enterprise developers to adopt OpenSocial. And as the pool of enterprise gadgets expands, OpenSocial containers will become a more relevant and efficient way to build business-oriented dashboards.
Another meeting is planned for January 2011 to follow up on these issues, and you can find Thursday’s meeting notes here.