In real life, people hang around the local store or go to the mall to not only shop, but also connect with other people. Now digital equivalents of those stores are opening all over the Web, with IT people and developers hanging out there, too.
The latest online store for the IT set comes from Informatica, which this week opened a Data Integration Marketplace where IT organizations can shop for various components and applications designed to run across Informatica middleware.
I find the participation of developers the amazing part of this trend. Not too long ago, most developers would have said that nobody else's code is as good as theirs, so why use it? But time passes on and economies change. These days, there are not enough people on staff to accomplish everything, so a lot of developers are inclined to be more pragmatic.
But even "God's gift to programming" types are showing up at these online marketplaces because they want people to reuse their code. So in addition to Infomatica, we now have the equivalent of online marketplaces for code from Salesforce.com, Courion and SnapLogic.
Judy Ko, vice president of product marketing at Informatica, expects marketplaces to evolve into areas where end users mutually support each other and rate specific software modules. In the meantime, Informatica is making available software developed by its own professional services team and plans to certify some offerings developed by third parties that will be offered through the store.
Of course, Apple made the whole concept of an app store cool. But more importantly, a new ecosystem for distributing software is emerging that will benefit any IT organization that cares to spend a little time hanging out online at the proverbial corner store.