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Mashup (web application hybrid)

Mashup (web application hybrid)

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In Web development
Web development
Web development is a broad term for the work involved in developing a web site for the Internet or an intranet . This can include web design, web content development, client liaison, client-side/server-side scripting, web server and network security configuration, and e-commerce development...

, a mashup is a Web page
Web page
A web page or webpage is a document or information resource that is suitable for the World Wide Web and can be accessed through a web browser and displayed on a monitor or mobile device. This information is usually in HTML or XHTML format, and may provide navigation to other web pages via hypertext...

 or application that uses and combines data, presentation or functionality from two or more sources to create new services. The term implies easy, fast integration, frequently using open API
Open API
Open API is a word used to describe sets of technologies that enable websites to interact with each other by using REST, SOAP, JavaScript and other web technologies...

s and data sources to produce enriched results that were not necessarily the original reason for producing the raw source data.

The main characteristics of the mashup are combination, visualization, and aggregation. It is important to make existing data more useful, moreover for personal and professional use.

To be able to permanently access the data of other services, mashups are generally client applications
Client (computing)
A client is an application or system that accesses a service made available by a server. The server is often on another computer system, in which case the client accesses the service by way of a network....

 or hosted online. Since 2010, two major mashup vendors have added support for hosted deployment based on Cloud computing
Cloud computing
Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility over a network ....

 solutions; that are Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand, like the electricity grid.

In the past years, more and more Web applications have published APIs that enable software developers to easily integrate data and functions instead of building them by themselves. Mashups can be considered to have an active role in the evolution of social software
Social software
Social software applications include communication tools and interactive tools. Communication tools typically handle the capturing, storing and presentation of communication, usually written but increasingly including audio and video as well. Interactive tools handle mediated interactions between a...

 and Web 2.0
Web 2.0
The term Web 2.0 is associated with web applications that facilitate participatory information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design, and collaboration on the World Wide Web...

. Mashup composition tools are usually simple enough to be used by end-users. They generally do not require programming skills and rather support visual wiring of GUI widgets, services and components together. Therefore, these tools contribute to a new vision of the Web
World Wide Web
The World Wide Web is a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet...

, where users are able to contribute.

The term mashup is also used to describe a remix of digital data
Mashup (digital)
A digital mashup usually is in reference to:1. Digital media content containing any or all of text, graphics, audio, video and animation drawn from pre-existing sources, to create a new derivative work...

.

History


The history of mashup can be backtracked by first understanding the broader context of the history of the Web. For Web 1.0
Web 1.0
Web 1.0, or web, refers to the first stage of the World Wide Web linking webpages with hyperlinks.- History :Hyperlinks between webpages began with the release of the WWW to the public in 1993, and describe the Web before the "bursting of the Dot-com bubble" in 2001.Since 2004, Web 2.0 has been the...

 business model companies stored consumer data on portals
Web portal
A web portal or links page is a web site that functions as a point of access to information in the World Wide Web. A portal presents information from diverse sources in a unified way....

 and updated them regularly. They controlled all the consumer data, and the consumer had to use their products and services to get the information.

With the advent of Web 2.0
Web 2.0
The term Web 2.0 is associated with web applications that facilitate participatory information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design, and collaboration on the World Wide Web...

 a new proposition was created, using Web standards that were commonly and widely adopted across traditional competitors and unlocked the consumer data. At the same time, mashups emerged allowing mixing and matching competitor's API to create new services. The term isn't formally defined by any standard-setting body.

The first mashups used mapping services or photo services to combine these services with data of any kind and therefore create visualizations of the data. In the beginning, most mashups were consumer-based, but recently the mashup is to be seen as an interesting concept useful also to enterprises. Business mashups can combine existing internal data with external services to create new views on the data.

Mashups are in the ascendant. As a statistic from Programmable Web found out in 2009 that three new mashups have been registered every single day for the last two years.

Types of mashups


There are many types of mashups, such as business mashups, consumer mashups, and data mashups. The most common type of mashup is the consumer mashup, aimed at the general public.
  • Business (or enterprise) mashups generally define applications that combine their own resources, application and data, with other external Web service
    Web service
    A Web service is a method of communication between two electronic devices over the web.The W3C defines a "Web service" as "a software system designed to support interoperable machine-to-machine interaction over a network". It has an interface described in a machine-processable format...

    s. They focus data into a single presentation and allow for collaborative action among businesses and developers. This works well for an agile development
    Agile software development
    Agile software development is a group of software development methodologies based on iterative and incremental development, where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams...

     project, which requires collaboration between the developers and customer (or customer proxy, typically a product manager) for defining and implementing the business requirements. Enterprise mashups are secure, visually rich Web applications that expose actionable information from diverse internal and external information sources.

  • Consumer mashups combines different data types. It combines data from multiple public sources in the browser and organizes it through a simple browser user interface. (e.g.: Wikipediavision
    Wikipediavision
    Wikipediavision is a site that shows in semi-realtime where anonymous edits to Wikipedia are originating from. It was launched in the fall of 2007 by László Kozma, at that time a student in Finland. The site combines Wikipedia's recent changes feed with Google Maps for 2D view to visualize the...

     combines Google Map and a Wikipedia API)

  • Data mashups, opposite to the consumer mashups, combine similar types of media and information from multiple sources into a single representation. The combination of all these resources create a new and distinct Web service
    Web api
    A web API is typically a defined set of HTTP request messages along with a definition of the structure of response messages, typically expressed in JSON or XML...

     that was not originally provided by either source.

By API type


Mashups can also be categorized by the basic API type they use but any of these can be combined with each other or embedded into other applications.

Data types

  • Indexed data
    Index (information technology)
    In computer science, an index can be:# an integer that identifies an array element# a data structure that enables sublinear-time lookup -Array element identifier:...

     (documents, weblogs, images, videos, shopping articles, jobs ...) used by Metasearch engines
  • Cartographic and geographic data: Geolocation software
    Geolocation software
    In computing, geolocation software is used to deduce the geolocation of another party. For example, on the Internet, one geolocation approach is to identify the subject party's IP address, then determine what country , organization, or user the IP address has been assigned to, and finally,...

    , Geovisualization
    Geovisualization
    Geovisualization, short for Geographic Visualization, refers to a set of tools and techniques supporting geospatial data analysis through the use of interactive visualization....

  • Feeds, podcasts: News aggregators

Functions

  • Data converters
    Conversion
    -Economy and Finance:* Currency conversion or exchange rate* Conversion , one of the options strategies* Economic conversion-Law:* Conversion , conversion by taking a chattel out of the possession of another with the intent of exercising a permanent or temporary dominion over it, despite the...

    : language translators
    Translation
    Translation is the communication of the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text. Whereas interpreting undoubtedly antedates writing, translation began only after the appearance of written literature; there exist partial translations of the Sumerian Epic of...

    , speech processing
    Speech processing
    Speech processing is the study of speech signals and the processing methods of these signals.The signals are usually processed in a digital representation, so speech processing can be regarded as a special case of digital signal processing, applied to speech signal.It is also closely tied to...

    , URL shorteners
    URL shortening
    URL shortening is a technique on the World Wide Web in which a Uniform Resource Locator may be made substantially shorter in length and still direct to the required page. This is achieved by using an HTTP Redirect on a domain name that is short, which links to the web page that has a long URL...

    ...
  • Communication: email
    Email
    Electronic mail, commonly known as email or e-mail, is a method of exchanging digital messages from an author to one or more recipients. Modern email operates across the Internet or other computer networks. Some early email systems required that the author and the recipient both be online at the...

    , instant messaging
    Instant messaging
    Instant Messaging is a form of real-time direct text-based chatting communication in push mode between two or more people using personal computers or other devices, along with shared clients. The user's text is conveyed over a network, such as the Internet...

    , notification
    Notification system
    A modern notification system is a combination of software and hardware that provides a means of delivering a message to a set of recipients. For example, notification systems can send an e-mail when a new topic has been added to Wikipedia. The complexity of the notification system is often...

    ...
  • Visual data rendering: Information visualization, diagrams
  • Security related: electronic payment systems
    Electronic money
    Electronic money is money or scrip that is only exchanged electronically. Typically, this involves the use of computer networks, the internet and digital stored value systems...

    , ID identification
    Digital identity
    Digital identity is the aspect of digital technology that is concerned with the mediation of people's experience of their own identity and the identity of other people and things...

    ...
  • Editors
    Editing
    Editing is the process of selecting and preparing written, visual, audible, and film media used to convey information through the processes of correction, condensation, organization, and other modifications performed with an intention of producing a correct, consistent, accurate, and complete...


Data integration challenges


There are a number of challenges to address when integrating data from different sources. The challenges can be classified into four groups: text/data mismatch, object identifiers and schema mismatch, abstraction level mismatch, data accuracy.

Text–data mismatch


A large portion of data is described in text. Human language is often ambiguous - the same company might be referred to in several variations (e.g. IBM, International Business Machines, and Big Blue). The ambiguity makes cross-linking with structured data difficult. In addition, data expressed in human language is difficult to process via software programs. One of the functionality of a data integration system is to overcome the mismatch between documents and data.

Object identity and separate schema


Structured data is available in a plethora of formats. Lifting the data to a common data format is thus the first step. But even if all data is available in a common format, in practice sources differ in how they state what essentially the same fact is. The differences exist both on the level of individual objects and the schema level. As an example for a mismatch on the object level, consider the following: the SEC uses a so-called Central Index Key (CIK) to identify people (CEOs, CFOs), companies, and financial instruments while other sources, such as DBpedia (a structured data version of Wikipedia), use URIs to identify entities. In addition, each source typically uses its own schema and idiosyncrasies for stating what is essentially the same fact. Thus, Methods have to be in place for reconciling different representations of objects and schema.

Abstraction levels


Data sources provide data at incompatible levels of abstraction or classify their data according to taxonomies pertinent to a certain sector. Since data is being published at different levels of abstraction (e.g. person, company, country, or sector), data aggregated for the individual viewpoint may not match data e.g. from statistical offices. Also, there are differences in geographic aggregation (e.g. region data from one source and country-level data from another). A related issue is the use of local currencies (USD vs. EUR) which have to be reconciled in order to make data from disparate sources comparable and amenable for analysis.

Data quality


Data quality is a general challenge when automatically integrating data from autonomous sources. In an open environment the data aggregator has little to no influence on the data publisher. Data is often erroneous, and combining data often aggravates the problem. Especially when performing reasoning (automatically inferring new data from existing data), erroneous data has potentially devastating impact on the overall quality of the resulting dataset. Hence, a challenge is how data publishers can coordinate in order to fix problems in the data or blacklist sites which do not provide reliable data. Methods and techniques are needed to; check integrity, accuracy, highlight, identify and sanity check, corroborating evidence; assess the probability that a given statement is true, equate weight differences between market sectors or companies; act as clearing houses for raising and settling disputes between competing (and possibly conflicting) data providers and interact with messy erroneous web data of potentially dubious provenance and quality. In summary, errors in signage, amounts, labeling, and classification can seriously impede the utility of systems operating over such data.

Mashups versus portals


Mashups and portals
Web portal
A web portal or links page is a web site that functions as a point of access to information in the World Wide Web. A portal presents information from diverse sources in a unified way....

 are both content aggregation
Aggregate data
In statistics, aggregate data describes data combined from several measurements.In economics, aggregate data or data aggregates describes high-level data that is composed of a multitude or combination of other more individual data....

 technologies. Portals are an older technology designed as an extension to traditional dynamic Web application
Dynamic web page
A dynamic web page is a kind of web page that has been prepared with fresh information , for each individual viewing. It is not static because it changes with the time , the user , the user interaction , the context A dynamic web page is a kind of web page that has been prepared with fresh...

s, in which the process of converting data content into marked-up Web pages is split into two phases: generation of markup "fragments" and aggregation of the fragments into pages. Each markup fragment is generated by a "portlet
Portlet
Portlets are pluggable user interface software components that are managed and displayed in a web portal. Portlets produce fragments of markup code that are aggregated into a portal. Typically, following the desktop metaphor, a portal page is displayed as a collection of non-overlapping portlet...

", and the portal combines them into a single Web page. Portlets may be hosted locally on the portal server or remotely on a separate server.

Portal technology defines a complete event model covering reads and updates. A request for an aggregate page on a portal is translated into individual read operations on all the portlets that form the page ("render" operations on local, JSR 168 portlets or "getMarkup" operations on remote, WSRP
Web Services for Remote Portlets
Web Services for Remote Portlets is an OASIS-approved network protocol standard designed for communications with remote portlets.-Overview:...

 portlets). If a submit button is pressed on any portlet on a portal page, it is translated into an update operation on that portlet alone (processAction on a local portlet or performBlockingInteraction on a remote, WSRP portlet). The update is then immediately followed by a read on all portlets on the page.

Portal technology is about server-side, presentation-tier
Multitier architecture
In software engineering, multi-tier architecture is a client–server architecture in which the presentation, the application processing, and the data management are logically separate processes. For example, an application that uses middleware to service data requests between a user and a database...

 aggregation. It cannot be used to drive more robust forms of application integration such as two-phase commit
Two-phase commit protocol
In transaction processing, databases, and computer networking, the two-phase commit protocol is a type of atomic commitment protocol . It is a distributed algorithm that coordinates all the processes that participate in a distributed atomic transaction on whether to commit or abort the transaction...

.

Mashups differ from portals in the following respects:
PortalMashup
Classification Older technology, extension to traditional Web server model using well-defined approach Using newer, loosely defined "Web 2.0" techniques
Philosophy/approach Approaches aggregation by splitting role of Web server into two phases: markup generation and aggregation of markup fragments Uses APIs provided by different content sites to aggregate and reuse the content in another way
Content dependencies Aggregates presentation-oriented markup fragments (HTML, WML, VoiceXML, etc.) Can operate on pure XML content and also on presentation-oriented content (e.g., HTML)
Location dependencies Traditionally, content aggregation takes place on the server Content aggregation can take place either on the server or on the client
Aggregation style "Salad bar
Salad bar
A salad bar is a buffet-style table or counter at a restaurant or food market on which salad components are provided for customers to assemble their own salad plates...

" style: Aggregated content is presented 'side-by-side' without overlaps
"Melting Pot
Melting pot
The melting pot is a metaphor for a heterogeneous society becoming more homogeneous, the different elements "melting together" into a harmonious whole with a common culture...

" style - Individual content may be combined in any manner, resulting in arbitrarily structured hybrid content
Event model Read and update event models are defined through a specific portlet API CRUD operations are based on REST
Representational State Transfer
Representational state transfer is a style of software architecture for distributed hypermedia systems such as the World Wide Web. The term representational state transfer was introduced and defined in 2000 by Roy Fielding in his doctoral dissertation...

 architectural principles, but no formal API exists
Relevant standards Portlet behavior is governed by standards JSR 168, JSR 286 and WSRP
Web Services for Remote Portlets
Web Services for Remote Portlets is an OASIS-approved network protocol standard designed for communications with remote portlets.-Overview:...

, although portal page layout and portal functionality are undefined and vendor-specific
Base standards are XML interchanged as REST
Rest
Rest may refer to:* Leisure* Human relaxation* SleepRest may also refer to:* Rest , a pause in a piece of music* Rest , the relation between two observers* Rest , a 2008 album by Gregor Samsa...

 or Web Services. RSS
RSS
-Mathematics:* Root-sum-square, the square root of the sum of the squares of the elements of a data set* Residual sum of squares in statistics-Technology:* RSS , "Really Simple Syndication" or "Rich Site Summary", a family of web feed formats...

 and Atom
Atom (standard)
The name Atom applies to a pair of related standards. The Atom Syndication Format is an XML language used for web feeds, while the Atom Publishing Protocol is a simple HTTP-based protocol for creating and updating web resources.Web feeds allow software programs to check for updates published on a...

 are commonly used. More specific mashup standards such as EMML
EMML
EMML, or Enterprise Mashup Markup Language, is an XML markup language for creating enterprise mashups, which are software applications that consume and mash data from variety of sources, often performing logical or mathematical operations as well as presenting data. Mashed data produced by...

 are emerging.


The portal model has been around longer and has had greater investment and product research. Portal technology is therefore more standardized and mature. Over time, increasing maturity and standardization of mashup technology will likely make it more popular than portal technology because it is more closely associated with Web 2.0 and lately Service-oriented Architectures
Service-oriented architecture
In software engineering, a Service-Oriented Architecture is a set of principles and methodologies for designing and developing software in the form of interoperable services. These services are well-defined business functionalities that are built as software components that can be reused for...

 (SOA). New versions of portal products are expected to eventually add mashup support while still supporting legacy portlet applications. Mashup technologies, in contrast, are not expected to provide support for portal standards.

Business mashups


Mashup uses are expanding in the business environment. Business mashups are useful for integrating business and data services, as business mashups technologies provide the ability to develop new integrated services quickly, to combine internal services with external or personalized information, and to make these services tangible to the business user through user-friendly Web browser interfaces.

Business mashups differ from consumer mashups in the level of integration with business computing environments, security and access control features, governance, and the sophistication of the programming tools (mashup editors) used. Another difference between business mashups and consumer mashups is a growing trend of using business mashups in commercial software as a service
Software as a Service
Software as a service , sometimes referred to as "on-demand software," is a software delivery model in which software and its associated data are hosted centrally and are typically accessed by users using a thin client, normally using a web browser over the Internet.SaaS has become a common...

 (SaaS) offering.

Many of the providers of business mashups technologies have added SOA
Service-oriented architecture
In software engineering, a Service-Oriented Architecture is a set of principles and methodologies for designing and developing software in the form of interoperable services. These services are well-defined business functionalities that are built as software components that can be reused for...

 features.

Architectural aspects of mashups


The architecture of a mashup is divided into three layers:
  • Presentation / user interaction: this is the user interface
    User interface
    The user interface, in the industrial design field of human–machine interaction, is the space where interaction between humans and machines occurs. The goal of interaction between a human and a machine at the user interface is effective operation and control of the machine, and feedback from the...

     of mashups. The technologies used are HTML
    HTML
    HyperText Markup Language is the predominant markup language for web pages. HTML elements are the basic building-blocks of webpages....

    /XHTML
    XHTML
    XHTML is a family of XML markup languages that mirror or extend versions of the widely-used Hypertext Markup Language , the language in which web pages are written....

    , CSS
    CSS
    -Computing:*Cascading Style Sheets, a language used to describe the style of document presentations in web development*Central Structure Store in the PHIGS 3D API*Closed source software, software that is not distributed with source code...

    , Javascript
    JavaScript
    JavaScript is a prototype-based scripting language that is dynamic, weakly typed and has first-class functions. It is a multi-paradigm language, supporting object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles....

    , Asynchronous Javascript and Xml (Ajax)
    Ajax (programming)
    Ajax is a group of interrelated web development methods used on the client-side to create asynchronous web applications...

    .

  • Web Services: the products functionality can be accessed using the API services. The technologies used are XMLHTTPRequest
    XMLHttpRequest
    XMLHttpRequest is an API available in web browser scripting languages such as JavaScript. It is used to send HTTP or HTTPS requests directly to a web server and load the server response data directly back into the script. The data might be received from the server as XML text or as plain text...

    , XML-RPC
    XML-RPC
    XML-RPC is a remote procedure call protocol which uses XML to encode its calls and HTTP as a transport mechanism. "XML-RPC" also refers generically to the use of XML for remote procedure call, independently of the specific protocol...

    , JSON-RPC
    JSON-RPC
    JSON-RPC is a remote procedure call protocol encoded in JSON. It is a very simple protocol , defining only a handful of data types and commands...

    , SOAP
    SOAP
    SOAP, originally defined as Simple Object Access Protocol, is a protocol specification for exchanging structured information in the implementation of Web Services in computer networks...

    , REST
    Rest
    Rest may refer to:* Leisure* Human relaxation* SleepRest may also refer to:* Rest , a pause in a piece of music* Rest , the relation between two observers* Rest , a 2008 album by Gregor Samsa...

    .

  • Data: handling the data like sending, storing and receiving. The technologies used are XML
    XML
    Extensible Markup Language is a set of rules for encoding documents in machine-readable form. It is defined in the XML 1.0 Specification produced by the W3C, and several other related specifications, all gratis open standards....

    , JSON
    JSON
    JSON , or JavaScript Object Notation, is a lightweight text-based open standard designed for human-readable data interchange. It is derived from the JavaScript scripting language for representing simple data structures and associative arrays, called objects...

    , KML
    KML
    KML or kml may refer to:* Kamileroi Airport , Queensland, Australia* Keyhole Markup Language, an XML geospatial data file format...

    .


Architecturally, there are two styles of mashups: Web-based and server-based. Whereas Web-based mashups typically use the user's Web browser
Web browser
A web browser is a software application for retrieving, presenting, and traversing information resources on the World Wide Web. An information resource is identified by a Uniform Resource Identifier and may be a web page, image, video, or other piece of content...

 to combine and reformat the data, server-based mashups analyze and reformat the data on a remote server
Server (computing)
In the context of client-server architecture, a server is a computer program running to serve the requests of other programs, the "clients". Thus, the "server" performs some computational task on behalf of "clients"...

 and transmit the data to the user's browser in its final form.

Mashups appear to be a variation of a façade pattern
Façade pattern
The facade pattern is a software engineering design pattern commonly used with Object-oriented programming. The name is by analogy to an architectural facade....

. That is: a software engineering design pattern that provides a simplified interface to a larger body of code (in this case the code to aggregate the different feeds with different APIs).

Mashups can be used with software provided as a service (SaaS
Software as a Service
Software as a service , sometimes referred to as "on-demand software," is a software delivery model in which software and its associated data are hosted centrally and are typically accessed by users using a thin client, normally using a web browser over the Internet.SaaS has become a common...

).

After several years of standards development, mainstream businesses are starting to adopt service-oriented architectures
Service-oriented architecture
In software engineering, a Service-Oriented Architecture is a set of principles and methodologies for designing and developing software in the form of interoperable services. These services are well-defined business functionalities that are built as software components that can be reused for...

 (SOA) to integrate disparate data by making them available as discrete Web services. Web services provide open, standardized protocols to provide a unified means of accessing information from a diverse set of platforms (operating system
Operating system
An operating system is a set of programs that manage computer hardware resources and provide common services for application software. The operating system is the most important type of system software in a computer system...

s, programming language
Programming language
A programming language is an artificial language designed to communicate instructions to a machine, particularly a computer. Programming languages can be used to create programs that control the behavior of a machine and/or to express algorithms precisely....

s, applications
Application software
Application software, also known as an application or an "app", is computer software designed to help the user to perform specific tasks. Examples include enterprise software, accounting software, office suites, graphics software and media players. Many application programs deal principally with...

). These Web services can be reused to provide completely new services and applications within and across organizations, providing business flexibility.

See also

  • Open Mashup Alliance
    Open Mashup Alliance
    The Open Mashup Alliance is a non-profit consortium that promotes the adoption of mashup solutions in the enterprise through the evolution of enterprise mashup standards like EMML. Enterprise mashup usage is expected to grow tenfold in the next five years...

  • Enterprise Mashup Markup Language (EMML)
    EMML
    EMML, or Enterprise Mashup Markup Language, is an XML markup language for creating enterprise mashups, which are software applications that consume and mash data from variety of sources, often performing logical or mathematical operations as well as presenting data. Mashed data produced by...

  • Communication-mashup
  • Mashup enabler
    Mashup enabler
    - Mashup enabler :In technology, a mashup enabler is a tool for transforming incompatible IT resources into a form that allows them to be easily combined, in order to create a mashup. Mashup enablers allow powerful techniques and tools for combining data and services to be applied to new kinds of...

  • Web scraping
    Web scraping
    Web scraping is a computer software technique of extracting information from websites...



Mashups using the Wikimedia API:
  • Wikipedia tools
  • Wikimedia Commons tools
  • Wikipedia external search engines

External links