What is a mashup?
When building a Web page you can create and/or supply all of the information for the page. Alternatively, you can build the page by mixing information from other Web sites with your information. Pages built by combining information from multiple Web pages are called mashups.
The formal definition of a mashup – a Web page consisting of information from multiple sources brought together to create a consolidated and integrated view of the combined information.
The Internet provides a perfect context for mashups. Many companies (including Amazon, Google and Yahoo) create services and publish the services as APIs on the Internet. An example of such a service is Google Maps. Programmers build programs that use the APIs to gather information for the mashup.
Suppose you wanted to create a real time restaurant guide to publish on the Web. The guide will allow people to find a restaurant, read reviews about the restaurant, see the restaurant location on a map and obtain directions for travelling to the restaurant. We will call this Web page “My Real Time Restaurant Guide” and the page will be a mashup made by combining information from several services.
The services we need to build the mashup are:
|A restaurant directory service||The directory service will search for restaurants and return a list of restaurants and addresses.|
|A restaurant review service||The review service will obtain ratings for the restaurants and comments on the customer experience.|
|A map service||The map service will provide a view of the restaurant location on a map.|
|A directions service||The direction service will explain how to travel to the restaurant.|
"My Real Time Restaurant Guide" mashup will provide the interface for the other services and interact with people who will use the guide. People will access the mashup from a desktop computer, a notebook, a net-book or a smart device from anywhere they have an Internet connection.
Another example of a mashup is the combination of information describing residential properties with Google Maps. The property information describes the characteristics and features of the properties and Google Maps shows the neighborhood and physical location of the properties. The mashup of the property description and the neighborhood provides the potential purchaser with additional information to assess whether the property will be suitable for their needs. You may like the property but not want to live in the neighborhood when the Google Map shows a large factory nearby.
In its original use, the term mashup referred to examples such as "My Real Time Restaurant Guide" where the context was a Web page combining information from multiple Web pages. The meaning of mashup has become less precise with the introduction of terms like business mashup and composite applications. People refer to any aggregation of information as a mashup. Mashups also have classifications such as analysis mashups, process mashups or transaction mashups.
Regardless of its nomenclature or classification the key concepts for a mashup are collections of information and services, accessed via APIs with the selective use of the information and/or services to present information in a Web page.
How does LANSA fit with mashups?
Mashups are Web pages so – developers can build mashups with the tools provided by Visual LANSA. Web applications built with Visual LANSA can be mashups or the Web applications can act as service providers for other mashups.
Both examples of mashups, "My Real Time Restaurant Guide" and the residential property example, can be built with Visual LANSA.