Lately, I've been hearing a lot of discussion around the similarities and differences between the "mashup" applications that are part and parcel of the Web2.0/Enterprise 2.0 scene, and "composite" applications that are part and parcel of the SOA scene. Are they actually one in the same? Twins separated at birth? We just had a great discussion around this question in one of Dana Gardner's latest SOA BriefingsDirect podcasts, which I will share with you when it becomes available.
Dave Lithincum, in his latest post, draws SOA and mashups closer into the same orbit, with a phenomenon he calls "mashware." Essentially, mashware sits out on the middleware layer, and handles feeds and interfaces to various back-end systems.
Dave spoke with JackBe, a Web 2.0-ish vendor that appears to be out in front of this trend, moving more emphasis from rich clients to middleware. An example of a mashware-enabled service would be one that takes a stock feed service and mashes up with a RSS freed to correlate the rise of stock prices using the number of times a stock is mentioned in blogs:
"To build this, you need to manage the stock feed service; the RSS feed, and have the capabilities link both and add your own processing to make the correlations. The 'mashware' would handle the feeds and the other interfaces, you would customize the view for yourself that makes the most sense for your own personal use."
Mashware seems more flexible and customizable (from an individual end-user perspective) than an SOA-enabled composite application/interface that IT builds and maintains for a department of users. And potentially more graphical, with more links to external sources, and probably a lot more fun. However, Dave astutely sees the SOA-ness of such mashware -- could this be the new face of composite applications going forward?