Introducing InfoSphere Mashup Hub from IBM

| by Boris Lublinsky Follow 1 Followers on Jul 07, 2008. Estimated reading time: 3 minutes |

As Web services grow in popularity, enterprising Web and application developers are creating new and innovative applications with their data. In addition to services themselves, developers are creating mashups, applications that combine data and functionality from multiple services.

Hardeep Singh’s article IBM Mashup Center and the InfoSphere MashupHub is an introduction to InfoSphere MashupHub, part of the IBM Mashup Center product,which is:

facilitating individuals to share structured and semi-structured information stored in their documents or local databases, with others in the organization. Data from multiple data sources can be merged, filtered, sorted, grouped, and transformed to create feed mashups. Data in these mashups can then be accessed by other applications using standard HTTP calls or can be presented in a Web browser using Lotus Mashups

An InfoSphere MashupHub provides the following

  • Ability to "Web 2.0" enable existing systems
  • Advanced Transformation & Mixing
  • Connectors for Core Enterprise Systems
  • Enterprise-class Security and Governance
  • Scalability, Reliability and Performance

The article starts with a description of the InfoSphere MashupHub application server, which is built on top of WebSphere Application Server and its surrounding Java EE technologies. It exposes a REST API to its clients who can access its services over either HTTP or a secure (HTTPS) connection.

The server supports a wide range of plug-ins for data sources as well as plug-ins for the feed mashup engine and the mashup catalog repository. All feed data from internal as well as external data sources is cached. An embedded Derby database is provided as a default option to create the default repository for the mashup catalog. Other relational databases can be also plugged in for catalog support. Application Server’s administration support interactive configuration for user’s authentication and role management.

The server provides services to the mashup client as well as to third-party feed readers or even other application servers or clients. When a feed or feed mashup is being created, the MashupHub client communicates with the server to fetch data from data sources, preview partial mashups, and to save the feed or feed mashup. Any feed that is published to the catalog can be accessed and viewed directly from the MashupHub client. The feed URL can also be invoked from a Web browser, feed reader, or any other application using standard HTTP protocol.

The main components of InfoSphere MashupHub server are:

  • Create and Explore. The first component is focused on Information Exploration and Creation where information sources are set-up for use in an InfoSphere MashupHub, Like other Web 2.0-oriented sites, InfoSphere MashupHub offers tagging, user ratings and other community elements common in social computing environments as well as security, metering, monitoring and governance.
  • Transform. Many of the information sources initially stored in InfoSphere MashupHub will be altered before being used in a mashup. This second component is focused on Information Transformation where software tool called "DAMIA" allows information sources to be further merged, filtered, transformed, annotated or published in new formats.
  • Assemble. Once assets have been accessed and prepared, they are assembled in the third step into a mash-up with QED Wiki - a mash-up environment based on wiki technology within an ordinary browser, or Lotus Mashups, Lotus’ new assembly technology. Users combine and remix assets located in Mash-up Hub linking them together in powerful ways to exploit new business opportunities

The InfoSphere MashupHub client is a browser-based Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that provides a Rapid Application Developer environment for building feeds and feed mashups. It provides tools to create data feeds from structured and semi-structured data sources. These feeds can be published as RSS, ATOM, or plain XML data streams that are accessible over the Internet or Intranet using a HTTP URL. A client is implemented using Ajax (Dojo toolkit) and uses REST calls to communicate with the application server.

In addition to describing an overall architecture and functionality of InfoSphere MashupHub server and client, an article also provides several step-by-step examples of building and publishing data feeds using a server including:

  • Feeds from a relational database
  • Feeds from a spreadsheet

It also provides an example of combining these two feeds into a mashup and publishing this mashup to the web.

Hardeep’s article is a good introduction to the InfoSphere MashupHub server and its usage for building custom mashup-style applications.

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An open source alternative by Paul Fremantle

The WSO2 Mashup Server fulfills many of the same benefits:
  • Ability to "Web 2.0" enable existing systems

  • Advanced Transformation & Mixing

  • Enterprise-class Security and Governance

  • Scalability, Reliability and Performance

You can connect to any SOAP exposed service, as well as feeds, spreadsheets, web scraping, REST services, email and IM systems, and expose these as SOAP, REST, Feeds, etc. And its completely Apache licensed open source.

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