Mashups -- or composite applications -- promise the ability to easily create useful new applications from existing services and Web applications. By combining data from multiple sources across the Web, and from within the enterprise, mashups can help distill important information for people who would otherwise need to gather and distill it manually.
A mortgage underwriter verifying an applicant's income is a good example. Underwriters typically work with a long list of Web pages, accessing public data sources to create a montage of the applicant's financial situation. This is a perfect scenario for a mashup.
Composite applications in 2008 are in the "early adopter" phase, with companies exploring their uses and potential in the enterprise. There's no lack of entrants in the field; a quick search turned up at least 20 different mashup platforms, both commercial and open source. Products such as JackBe Presto, Nexaweb Enterprise Web 2.0 Suite, and Kapow's RoboSuite illustrate the range of approaches (click the links for InfoWorld's reviews).
For pros only
Hosted Objects are objects hosted within the WSO2 Mashup Server that provide access to remote data sources. These objects are written in Java, and provide access to APP (Atom Publishing Protocol) resources, RSS feeds, e-mail, and instant messaging services (although only for sending messages), among others. One of the more useful if more complicated hosted objects is the "scraper" object, which makes use of Web-Harvest to screen scrape Web pages that do not provide Web services. From the enterprise standpoint, significant omissions are the lack of JMS and SQL hosted objects.
You manage all these services through the management console (supported only on Firefox 1.5 and 2, and IE 6 and 7), where services and mashups can be searched, assigned "usefulness" ratings by users and developers, downloaded, and shared. The service inspector lets you view and download service descriptions, WSDL, and other artifacts useful to both the humans and the machines who will use the mashup service.
The management console, while providing all the necessary tools for a social network of developers to interact to build and share mashups, lacks many of the features that an enterprise deployment would need. Version control, access control, service integrity, and other basic elements required for an enterprise deployment are missing in this version.
Another con is the inability to deploy in a Java application server. It would be nice to be able to drop a WAR file into your favorite J2EE server, and the requirement to run the mashup services within the custom WSO2 WSAS server might be a barrier to uptake in many organizations.
WSO2 Mashup Server enters a crowded market, with many more mature competitors. Aimed at bringing together networks of developers, this product could foster critical mass among some communities. see WSO2's community portal, Mooshup.com, for an example of the possibilities. For the enterprise, though, uses are currently limited by the lack of deployment options and services.
Ease of development (30.0%)
Overall Score (100%)
|WSO2 Mashup Server 1.0||7.0||8.0||9.0||7.0||5.0|
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