Posts Tagged ‘open-source’

A Trifecta of Cool Mashup News

For the past several months I’ve been blogging over at SearchSOA, in absence of any major advances in the world of mashups. In fact, it seemed that even as the tech industry as a whole continued to move towards the APIs that make mashups possible, it had abandoned the notion of mashups as a new development paradigm. Within the past couple of weeks there has been a veritable explosion of mashup-related announcements that demonstrate otherwise.

Item 1: Microsoft Re-Enters the World of Mashups

I totally did not see this one coming. After Microsoft shuttered Popfly, its own mashup environment, I had assumed their flirtation with mashups was over. Yet from out of nowhere comes ExcelMashup.com, a platform for mashing together excel workbooks and public APIs.  Clearly Microsoft has not abandonded mashups and now sees Excel as a means to drive their creation. I recall a 2008 Web 2.0 Expo talk given by John Musser, founder of ProgrammableWeb, where he predicted Enterprise Mashups would be the Excel of our era. In his prescient way, it looks like John might have been closer to the truth than he thought!

Item 2: An Enterprise-worthy Open Source Mashup Tool

The good news continued with the release of Convertigo’s Enterprise Mashup Server Community Edition (press release )

I have always felt that the mashup community needed to get traction with the open-source community in order to be successful in enterprise environments (I had high hopes for the Open Mashup Alliance). Obviously, people could always manually connect various APIs and code an interface around the results, but even a small amount of tooling can accelerate this process dramatically. And using a mashup product like Convertigo CE can expose this discipline to a much broader class of non-developer. Convertigo CE has 4 main functions:

  • Connectors — for any SQL, REST, SOAP, RSS, ATOM or Microsoft Excel file;
  • Sequencer — combines, orchestrates and exposes new REST, SOAP or JSON services;
  • Gadgetizer — feed portals with services and widgets for Microsoft SharePoint, Oracle Web Center, IBM WebSphere portal or any open source portal;
  • Mobilizer — build and deploy cross-platform mobile native or web applications for iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile.

I used an earlier version of Convertigo (along with tools from JackBe and Kapow) at a Web 2.0 presentation I gave on mashups and it was very powerful. I plan on testing the Community Edition and posting an in-depth review in the future.

Item 3: If This… Then That…

The last announcement comes in the spirit of web-based mashup creation tools like Dapper and Yahoo Pipes. “If This then That” (http://ifttt.com) is a new site that provides a way to mash services together to perform simple, specific tasks. For example, “IF it is going to rain, THEN send me an SMS”. The condition would use a weather API to check the forecast for your area, and then an SMS API to send you a notification if needed. These types of simple automated tasks are the equivalent of the parameciums of the mashup world, and yet the site is hugely popular and tens of thousands of these tasks have been created by the community. As I wrote in my post, “Dumbing-down Mashups: A Good Thing?” the spread of simpler mashup products like ifttt is ultimately what allows a more complex ecosystem to develop. Non-developers will be casually drawn to a site like ifttt at home, fall in love with it, and ultimately demand similar capabilities in their workplace.

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