Semantic data integration vendor TopQuadrant’s TopBraid Suite 4.5 just hit the street, a major release that CMO and VP of Professional Services Robert Coyne says “provides a large number of new and enhanced capabilities driven primarily by customers who are using our TopBraid Enterprise Vocabulary Net solution for vocabulary and/or metadata management, or using TopBraid Live to create a custom, model-driven solution.”
The latest version, he says, features more business user and enterprise readiness-motivated improvements than any past major release since Release 4.0, when the current generation of the TopBraid EVN product was first introduced. Many of the enhancements were inspired by requests coming from different customers using TopBraid in different contexts, he notes.
New capabilities in EVN range from improved configurability for the EVN Ontology Editor, via a form builder that allows browser window management and enables users to open multiple view forms, tree and chart windows, to an improved search form that makes it possible to search on cardinalities, regular expressions, aggregates in the search counts and chart results.
Also part of the upgrade is increased support for business stakeholders who need to collaborate on defining and linking enterprise vocabularies, taxonomies and metadata used for information sharing, data integration and search. Features like that reflect the fact that a growing number of enterprise customers and business users are looking to leverage products such as TopBraid EVN, Coyne says.
“These customers and users are keenly interested in the seamless flow of data and metadata within collaborative workflows. Hence, we have a large focus on enhancing collaboration in the current release, especially in TopBraid EVN,” he says. “These enterprise customers and business users don’t need to understand the technical details or even know about the underlying semantic-web technology that powers their solutions.
And, the enterprise benefits not only by supporting specific business needs, but also through the flexibility and evolve-ability of semantic standards-enabled solutions.”
Deploying these types of solutions, that is, enables enterprises to incrementally transform their infrastructure into a semantic ecosystem, he says. “We believe that integrated enterprise information is the foundation of providing solutions that are flexible, evolvable, interoperable,” he says. “Hence our mission: to make information meaningful and by doing that empower people.”
Taking an incremental approach drives to the ends of helping semantic web technology become more mainstream, a goal for the company, Coyne notes: “In this sense, where it is first and foremost used (under the covers so to speak) to solve business problems, semantic web technology becomes less exotic and perhaps even invisible – we think that is good and real progress.”
TopQuadrant continues to cater to more technical users with TopBraid Composer and TopBraid Live, who use these products for the development of ontologies and semantic applications/solutions. (The user community for its technical platform products can be found here.) But the first release of TopBraid Enterprise Vocabulary Net a few years back marked the company’s start in offering enterprise products and solutions for business users with out-of-the-box capabilities, built on semantic-web standards and the TopBraid Platform, Coyne says.
“We have evolved from being the first semantic web consulting company in the U.S., to a tools and platform company from 2006 to 2010, to now solving particular business problems with a clear value proposition,” Coyne says. And along with that, TopQuadrant has seen a growing number of real world, large scale enterprise deployments and strategic commitment to semantic web technology-enabled solutions and infrastructure.