WSO2 Unveils Open Source Mashup Server

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WSO2 is offering a new open source mashup server and has rolled out a beta of a new hosted mashup service. Both fall under Apache open source licensing and the WSO2 Mashup Server 1.0 represents "the first open source [server] solution for mashups," according to Jonathan Marsh, WSO2's director of mashups.

The new server separates content and presentation and is based on XML and Web services protocols. This arrangement adds flexibility, allowing mashups to consume other mashups, which Marsh describes as "recursive mashups." Some mashup platforms don't have an easy way to do this, Marsh explained. However, the WSO2 Mashup Server has application programming interfaces (APIs) that facilitate this process, and the programming is done through JavaScript.

"WSO2's mashup server is optimized for Web services and XML throughout the architecture," Marsh explained. "So it normalizes feeds in HTML and data sources into XML, brings them into the mashup logic, which is [programmed in] JavaScript, and the result of that is automatically deployed as another Web service with rich metadata. We also provide tools for building HTML interfaces for that service, for building feeds for that service, or for bridging into eventing protocols such as instant messaging and e-mail."

Programmers can use Notepad or any simple text editor to code mashups in JavaScript using the administrative user interface of the WSO2 Mashup Server. The product is targeted toward Web developers who want control, Marsh said.

WSO2 Mashup Server is a lightweight Web service development environment that can scale up from the individual desktop to team and enterprise levels. WSO2 offers further scalability across the Internet cloud with its beta launch of Mooshup.com. The free hosted mashup service offers a community-wide Web site where people can get and run mashups over the Internet or upload their own mashups.

Marsh said that Mooshup.com is free but that the company may consider adding premium offerings there in the future. Anything there is open source, though.

"If you post a mashup on Mooshup.com, it's free and it's also shared, so you'd not want to put your crown jewels up there," Marsh said. "For this beta, if you upload a mashup, we ask in return that these be made available under the Apache open source license."

WSO2, which is well known for its open source service-oriented architecture solutions, added a mashup server to its enterprise product line largely because mashups and Web 2.0-style technologies offer a way to decentralize IT and get "situational applications" faster into the hands of business users.

"We are seeing individuals in an organization building situational applications as development becomes easier and easier, and situational applications are tasks built to solve a particular problem of the moment, and they're also called mashups," Marsh explained. "We're finding that the best person to own the way data is provided to the enterprise is the person who is the owner of that data himself."

One example is doctors at an HMO, who have been using WSO2's solution to create their own situational applications in JavaScript, Marsh said.

Marsh cited a general trend with mashups, where there's a need to move away from the traditional Web site publishing model, where control is maintained by the publisher and delivery is by HTML.

"There's a demand to get away from HTML as the canonical format for delivering information to consumers," he said. "[It's a movement] to actually having a site provide APIs -- Web services -- that can be accessed programmatically to get just the content, in a format that is very flexible and [that] is able to be programmed, mashed up and repurposed by the customer."

WSO2 Mashup Server 1.0 is currently available via a free download. People can also sign up for free access to WSO2's hosted mashup service at Mooshup.com.

WSO2 makes its income through selling services and support around its open source products, and, for further information, go here. The company also hosts an open developer portal called WSO2 Oxygen Tank.

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About the author: Kurt Mackie is Web editor of RCPmag.com and ADTmag.com. He can be reached at kmackie@1105media.com.

Proposals for articles and tips for news stories, as well as questions and comments about this publication, should be submitted to David Nagel, executive editor, at dnagel@1105media.com.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor, Enterprise Group, at 1105 Media Inc.

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