Friday, April 18, 2008

Let's Get Mashed Up!!!

Day by day Web Services are making the Web more dynamic, interactive and fun. Thanks to Web Services the World Wide Web which used to be a pile of content for reading and browsing has turned into the most dynamic and active source of information in the world. At the same time it has become a play field for those who love to play, a huge world wide dating service for those who wanna flirt, a medium for expressing viewpoints for those who want their opinion to be heard by others (I personally know a guy who used his blog to announce that he has started an affair with a girl) and a primary means of interactive communication for everybody in general. With Web Services the entire World Wide Web is restructuring itself into a pull-based model where the user pulls out exactly the content he wishes to see from the network. The traditional push-based model where the Web administrators simply push the content into their Websites that users has to browse and see is becoming more and more outdated. All the businesses are now rapidly adopting SOA and Web Services and they are organizing their business activities around Web services. Web services allow organizations to stay up-to-date on current socio-economic trends, competitors and the organization itself thus effectively reducing lot of overheads associated with management and control.

The best thing about Web services is the flexibility associated with them. One can decide to use a Web Service as it is or he can mix it up with other Web services to build his own customized Web Services. For an example take a Web service which brings you the latest up-to-date weather information in Asia continent in plain text format. If you are lazy, dull and a bit tardy you can consume the service as provided by the service provider. Or else if you are active, energetic and fun loving you can mix it up with other services to make it even more useful. In the example I have picked one might mix the weather data service up with an on-line mapping service like Google maps to create a dynamic weather map of Asia. Now how cool is that? As another example take a service which brings you the latest prices of cars. If we can mash it up with a service which brings you the architectural details of cars we can create a live feed which gives you all the details one would possibly want to know about cars.

Well it really sounds pretty exciting isn't it? But Web services are serious business. They are inherently complicated and difficult to handle. So how on earth one can just 'mash up' multiple services to form one service out of them when even handling one service requires lot of effort? Well believe it or not it's lot easier than you think, 'if' you are using the right tool. And what is this 'right tool'? It's called the WSO2 Mashup Server. All you need to know is a bit of JavaScript and you can get started with mashing up services in no time.

WSO2 Mashup server 1.0 was released recently and it's already making a lot of hype in the SOA world. WSO2 also put the (beta), the community site of mashup developers on-line couple of days back and there we already have a number of users sharing the mashups they have created. WSO2 Mashup server really makes mixing and mashing up services embarrassingly easy. I myself didn't know a damn thing about mashing services up few weeks back and now thanks to the WSO2 Mashup server I have already put a couple of mashups on-line at 'YahooTunes', one of the mashups I developed recently takes the RSS feed from the Yahoo music ( which has a top chart of songs and mashes it up with the Youtube data API ( to bring you the videos of the top ten songs. All I had to do was to write a few lines of JavaScript code. Most of the advanced tasks handled for you by the host objects provided by the Mashup server. 'YahooTunes' mashup is now on-line at and is a good demonstration of the power of WSO2 Mashup server and what it has to offer. You will also realize that WSO2 Mashup server allows generation and displaying of WSDL and source code of mashups. Deploying, editing and managing mashups are also made easier tasks with the cool looking Web frontend. User management is provided using WSO2 User Manager and InfoCard authentication is facilitated using WSO2 Identity Solution. Sharing the mashups you create is also easy. Simply create and test the mashup on your local mashup server and hit share to upload it to the community site or some other mashup server instance.

WSO2 Mashup server is pretty stable and feature-rich for a 1.0 release. I didn't really find any major drawbacks and pitfalls so far. Full credit goes to all the developers that contributed to put this wonderful piece of software engineering together. However beware people. WSO2 Mashup server is known to be addictive!!!

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