Enterprise mashups tools

It was inevitable that someone would coin the phrase "enterprise mashup," and SOA analyst Phil Wainewright seems to have gotten there first. A mashup, for those not at the white-hot center of Silicon Valley's latest craze, is a composite Web application.

Mashups are lightweight and agile in two important ways. They rely on services that live on the WS-Lite end of the tolerance continuum, where recombination seems almost effortless. And they rely on AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) techniques to make deployment of responsive and richly interactive interfaces seem almost effortless.

In reality, of course, there's no free lunch. As Wainewright pointed out, enterprises will always occupy a base camp at the WS-Heavy end of the tolerance continuum. Robust centralized services for managing identity, data, and business process are central to the mission of SOA. Mashups cannot and should not compromise that mission.

What they can do, however, and what I think they should do, is what Lotus Notes did for an earlier generation: empower user-driven innovation at the level of individuals, workgroups, and departments.

Not everyone will agree. The Notes experience yielded a mess of siloed and unmaintainable applications, some argue. Why go there again?

One reason I'm more hopeful this time around is that we're now able to leverage a suite of technologies that are inherently open. At every level of the Web stack, protocols and formats are subject to inspection and intermediation. Another reason for hope is the emergence of tools that make doing that inspection and intermediation easier and more effective. Recently, for example, I've been creating some of my own enterprise mashups. In the process, I found, and have come to rely on, some excellent Firefox extensions for Web developers, including Chris Pederick's Web Developer Extension and -- thanks to a tip from reader Chaim Krause -- Joe Hewitt's FireBug.

The Web Developer Extension is a huge compendium of useful ways to inspect, validate, and even modify the elements and styles in a Web page. The feature I use most often is the live CSS editor. As you rewrite style declarations, you see the effects of your changes immediately.

FireBug, which is itself a kind of mashup of the JavaScript console and the DOM Inspector, adds more CSS goodness. You'd be surprised (or maybe not) to see how many CSS errors exist in the Web apps you use every day. FireBug reports them on the status line, and when you click its icon, it opens a detailed report.

There's much more to both of these extensions, but I call out their CSS features for two reasons. First, although IE7 won't do away with every cross-browser development headache, it will make aggressive use of CSS more viable. The more effectively we can create and maintain CSS-tagged content, the saner our enterprise mashups will be.

Second, CSS will play an increasing role in the semantics, as well as the style, of enterprise mashups. For several years now I've been reaping the benefits of a content management strategy that enriches Web pages with data-driven intelligence and interactivity. The strategy involves microformats, structured blogging, and structured search. CSS is the common enabler, and better CSS tools will be an accelerant.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jon Udell

Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?