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Enterprise Mashups: The New Face of Your SOA

Bringing value to the enterprise

Enterprise mashups, one of the hottest Web 2.0 technologies today, could impact your SOA in a very positive way. But are you ready for them? How does an SOA architect prepare for this dynamic technology?

Do you know what a mashup is and what value it brings to an enterprise? Can you distinguish between a consumer mashup and an enterprise mashup? Equally important, do you understand the difference between a mashup and popular enterprise technologies like business intelligence, data warehouses, portals, and the Enterprise Service Bus?

Mashups are not exactly new. Analysts and pundits alike have been talking about "composite applications" since the birth of the Internet. Today there are thousands of consumer-focused mashups. One popular mashup site, Programmable Web, reports that three new mashups have been registered every single day for the last two years.

Like many other buzz-laden terms (Web 2.0, for instance), the term mashup isn't subject to formal definition by any standards-setting body. One mashup expert is fond of saying that if you "ask 10 self-proclaimed mashup developers what a mashup is...you just might get 10 different answers." And there's considerable overuse and misuse of the term in software marketing. The mashup label has been used and abused by consumer and business-oriented software vendors alike in such diverse functional areas as portals, business process management, document/content management, Web scraping/clipping, and even knowledge management.

So what's a pure mashup? Mashups solve the quintessential information sharing problem: accessing and combining data from disparate internal and external data sources in ways that were not pre-imagined. Imagine connecting SAP Accounts Receivable via NetWeaver services, Oracle Human Resources via Fusion services, and some Mule-driven SOA services from a legacy database - and doing it through the global LDAP server and in a PKI infrastructure. That's a pure mashup in the context of an enterprise.

Unfortunately, most well-known mashups are much simpler: take data from one source of information and plot that data on an interactive map. But this course pattern hardly applies in the sophisticated world of the enterprise. For the purposes of this discussion, it will help to juxtapose consumer mashups from enterprise mashups.

A consumer mashup is an application that combines data from multiple public sources in the browser and organizes it through a simple browser user interface. A good example is HousingMaps (http://www.housingmaps.com), which combines Craigslist rental listings with Google Maps for a visual representation of local apartments for rent.

An enterprise mashup, also referred to as a business mashup, is an application that combines data from multiple internal and public sources and publishes the results to enterprise portals, application development tools, or as a service in an SOA cloud. Enterprise mashups must also interoperate with enterprise application technologies for security, governance, monitoring, and availability.

More Stories By John Crupi

John Crupi is the CTO of JackBe Corporation. As CTO he is entrusted with understanding market forces and business drivers to drive JackBe's technical vision and strategy. He has 20 years experience in OO and enterprise distributed computing.Previously, Crupi spent eight years with Sun Microsystems, serving as a Distinguished Engineer and CTO for Sun's Enterprise Web Services Practice. He is co-author of the highly popular 'Core J2EE Patterns' book, has written many articles for various magazines and is a well-known speaker around the globe. He is a frequent blogger and was selected to join the International Advisory board for SYS-CON's AJAX & RIA Journal.

More Stories By Chris Warner

Chris Warner, Director of Marketing at JackBe, has been published in dozens of whitepapers, trade journals and podcasts. He brings to JackBe 17 years of experience in all types of high-tech environments, private and public, big and small.

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