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IBM unveils OpusUna web-collaboration platform

Multiple users interact online with audio, video

IBM is working on OpusUna, a web-conferencing platform that allows users to collaborate through web pages with audio and video functions.

OpusUna, an Ajax-based technology, was discussed during a briefing at the AjaxWorld RIA Conference & Expo in the US this week.

"Really, what we're looking at is how I extend the whole concept of Ajax to allow multiple-user interactions," said David Boloker, CTO of IBM's Emerging Internet Technology Software Group.

"It's all about a next-generation collaboration capability where you're really looking at how people interact with one another in a very different way."

OpusUna enables participants to collaborate and communicate from within the same browser space, incorporating widgets, audio and video cameras to display themselves on the screen. IBM envisions, for example, collaboration on patient care via sharing of medical images. Financial traders, too, could collaborate from around the world.

The difference between OpusUna and other collaboration platforms is that with OpusUna, all participants can contribute content as opposed to having one person serving as a presenter, IBM said. Co-operative meetings can be held.

The OpusUna software, which IBM has deployed on a Linux system, pulls together the various parts of a collaboration. It uses HTML, JavaScript, and CSS; Flash and Silverlight content could be brought in via a wrapped widget. IBM is currently working with Safari, but plans to extend the software to Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox in the first quarter of 2009

IBM plans to show OpusUna to customers in early 2009 before deciding on how to proceed with the technology. The technology arose out of the company's QEDWiki mashup project, providing a next step that incorporates audio and video.

OpusUna is named after a Latin expression for 'work together' or 'work as one', Boloker explained.

Also at AjaxWorld, the next generation of JSF (JavaServer Faces), which is version 2.0, was discussed. Due out at the end of this year, JSF 2.0 features accommodations for Ajax as well as other improvements, said Roger Kitain, staff engineer for Java EE Engineering at Sun. An early draft review of JSF 2.0 is underway.

JSF features server-side components for building web applications. It offers client device independence. Developers can use various render kits with JSF to determine, for example, how the applications will render in a browser.

NEXT PAGE: Ajax standardisation in JSF


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