Today, most developers experimenting with mashups are using consumer-centric content from the likes of eBay, Amazon, Google, and others. However, in the future, corporate developers may well combine web service elements from a range of vendor solutions with bespoke, in-house line-of-business applications to present business users with their very own enterprise mashups.
A ‘mashup’ is a website, or more usually a web-based application, comprised of two or more components from different sources, but presented to the user as a single, seamless ‘experience’ or application.
Visitors to www.chicagocrime.org can see a mashup in action. The site combines reported crime data obtained from the Chicago Police Department (which is available as a publicly accessible database) with Google Maps. The mashup offers the user a chance to filter crimes based on: crime type, e.g. assault, battery, burglary, theft; location type, e.g. alley, bank, petrol station, restaurant; date; police district; ZIP code; ward; or route – defined by the user.
A similar example is that of the Bag Theft Blog (www.bagtheftblog.com), a website where individuals can report a theft, and see which areas to avoid. Now, set your imagination free and think of ways in which corporate data could be used in this manner.
John Musser, of ProgrammableWeb.com, maintains a website that tracks mashups, and, of the 1,200 or so mashups already registered, around 50% are map-centric applications. At the moment, the ‘shopping’ category is second in popularity, with 7% of the pie, but this is likely to accelerate markedly as we approach the holiday season in 2007. At a rate of around six or seven per day, the number of mashups available is rising quickly, and so one can only surmise that this will go logarithmic at some point early in 2007.
As one might expect, the software for building consumer-oriented mashups is typically offered by the provider of the web service being consumed as part of the mashup; so developers will work with the documented web service calls from, say, Amazon Web Services, eBay Developers Program, Windows Live Dev, etc. According to Mr Musser’s statistics, over 50% of mashups consume the Google Maps API, with Flickr coming in second at 10%, and Amazon third at 8%.
The ‘consumer’ examples of mashup are almost endless, but what does this mean in the enterprise; where does it take us? Perhaps it is best to look to service-oriented architecture (SOA) for the answers, as many of the issues surrounding the application and adoption of SOA within the enterprise have many direct parallels with the world of mashups. Aspects such as models, infrastructure requirements, controls and governance, and implementation roadmaps are the things that IT Development managers should now be thinking about.
In the past, IT agendas and application integration strategies have been set, controlled, and governed by heads of IT. In the future, however, these things may well be driven by altogether less controllable forces. So, IT managers would be advised to grasp the nettle now while no one can hear you scream, because the world of enterprise application integration and systems development might just be about to change – again.
Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (www.butlergroup.com)