IBM Research

Web Intermediaries (WBI)

Aiming to produce a more powerful and flexible web, we have developed the concept of intermediaries. Intermediaries are computational entities that can be positioned anywhere along an information stream and are programmed to tailor, customize, personalize, or otherwise enhance data as they flow along the stream.  Intermediaries create
 smart pipes.
A caching web proxy is a simple example of an HTTP intermediary. Intermediary-based programming is particularly useful for adding functionality to a system when the data producer (e.g., server or database) or the data consumer (e.g., browser) cannot be modified.

Web Intermediaries (WBI, pronounced "webby") is an architecture and framework for creating intermediary applications on the web. WBI is a programmable web proxy and web server. We are now making available the WBI Development Kit for building web intermediary applications within the WBI framework, using Java APIs. Many types of applications can be built with WBI; you can also download some plugins.

One key intermediary application is the transformation of information from one form to another, a process called transcoding. In fact, the WBI Development Kit now provides the same plugin APIs as IBM WebSphere Transcoding Publisher. Applications developed with WBI version 4.5 can be used with the Transcoding Publisher product (with a few exceptions), as WBI constitutes the backbone on which transcoding operations run.

Other examples of intermediary applications include:

WBI has an interesting and entertaining history.