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Mashup Camp 4 in Mountain View, CA: Web 2.0 is Going Mainstream

MashupCampI’ve attended Mashup Camp 4 this week. It started with a two-day Mashup University, followed by a two-day Mashup Camp.

Monday, July 16th
Several vendors who sponsored the event presented their mashup development tools.Mashup Camp 4
I’ve seen Zude product, announced in April with the help of ZDNet’s David Berlind. Nice UI, Dapper and OpenKapow did demos too. Google Gears appears to be a great enabler of developing applications that work both online and off-line.
John Herren, whom I met first at Mashup Camp 3 at MIT in Boston, MA this January, presented Introduction to Mashup Development. LignUp demo was cool too.

Tuesday, July 17th
2 pm. Bungee Lab’s Brad Hintze demoed their new technology. I requested access to Early Access Beta for Bungee Connect, and soon got access code by email.

4 pm. People from IDG called about the upcoming LinuxWorld trade show where Apatar will exhibit, and I had to change the booth delivery logistics and missed the rest of the demos:(

6 pm. On Tuesday night there was a pool party sponsored by StrikeIron. Over wine Mark Madsen and I developed a concept of the mashup “Cold Call Assist!”. The idea is to improve performance of sales folks working with Salesforce.com by gathering and displaying recent news about the prospective customer company and their competitors, and provides a list of restaurants near the prospect’s location along with a map for directions, making it easy to suggest meeting for lunch or dinner in an area close to the prospect. Next day we began working on creating this mashup using IBM QEDWiki and after several hours of work we got the mashup working. Overview of mashup is available at IBM QEDWiki page here with lessons learned documented and demo of the actual mashup application here.

Wednesday, July 18th
On Wednesday I moderated a session called 5 Ways to Monetize Your Mashup Development Skills. It was a nice discussion, together the participants brainstormed the possible options for mashup-driven business models, discussed ideas how fellow masher-uppers could leverage existing opportunities to make money and start new companies. Speed geeking was cool, I demonstrated how Apatar Enterprise Data Mashups extracts data out of Salesforce.com joins data from MS SQL and generates an RSS feed at ApatarForge.Org

After the session I did a bit of Speed-Geeking (for those who don’t know what Speed-Geeking is, look here and here).
Wednesday night – working with Mark on implementation of our mashup. Late, very late. I don’t know when Mark finished, but he was still working when I left at 1 am for a conference call with my team in Belarus.

Thursday, July 19th
10 am. Got an email from Mark which he sent at 5 am! He will be late. I’m submitting our mashup for the contest.
10:30 am. I decided to develop one more mashup using IBM QED Wiki and StrikeIron SMS widget. The idea is to enable any Salesforce.com user send SMS messages to any of the contacts in Salesforce.com.
1 pm. Salesforce.com-StrikeIron-QEDWiki-SMS mashup is ready. Very hungry. Lunch is good, even better than on Wednesday:).
3 pm. I moderated a session called “Apatar Enteprise Data Mashups: Mix information between MS Excel, RSS, MySQL, MS SQL, Flickr, Amazon S3, and salesforce.com without writing a single line of code.” Attendees were very active and asked lots of questions. Bill Graham of CNET Networks requested a capability for Apatar to process large quantities of data by threads, with the goal to speed up processing of ETL transformations.
4 pm. WOA! The mashup which Mark and I developed was named the Best of Conference Business Mashup. Now we have to split the main cash prize of $1,500.00 sponsored by IBM, Dapper, Kapow, and StrikeIron. Mark and I, now the happiest mashup campers in the world, decided to sponsor the first round of beer for the attendees of the Camp at a bar nearby. David Berlind announced the Mashup Camp 4 officially closed.
6 pm. Masher-uppers are having a party at the bar called Tide House in Mountain View. A friend of mine who lives nearby Andrew Filev, CEO of Wrike.com, joined the party which was filled with geeky discussions about the future of mashups.
Photos from MashupCamp4 are available at Liz’s photo stream .

Are you geeked out? I’m:)

Will Mashups Push Web 2.0 into the Enterprise Arena?

The short answer is, “yes,” but I believe it is conditional to certain changes that have to happen first. Let me focus on what prevents mashups from evolving into the enterprise space right now. According to Gartner, corporate developers spend approximately 65 percent of their effort building bridges between applications. Think about information that’s stored in a typical enterprise and how it interacts with information on the Web. The problem each enterprise faces is how to let customers, partners, vendors, and everyone else with interest in a company use the company’s data and services within their own enterprise applications. A sweet spot is a reliable way for the information to be used inside and outside of the enterprise easily. If you look closely, there is a disconnect between a huge amount of infrastructure being built for the future of “cloud computing,” and the capabilities of today’s companies to effectively link data between on-premise and on-demand applications.

But there are three problems with existing middleware products in the enterprise market:
a) The tools are expensive.
b) The tools are complex to install.
c) The tools are difficult to implement and maintain, and most require a serious work effort (architecture, configuration, programming, and custom coding and testing) before delivering any value to the end user.

What kind of middleware does Enterprise 2.0 need in the area of information integration?

I wrote about mashup building software tools in this post. Today these tools lack enterprise data integration capabilities, especially in the area of batch-type data integration, where large chunks of data (in the tens of megabytes, or even gigabytes range) have to be moved in and out. What we see now is mostly a web scrapping/RSS/light-weight XML approach to creating situational applications, or mashups. Enterprise 2.0 needs middleware that can access data both on a local network (like MS SQL/MySQL/Oracle databases and files), and on-demand applications and systems in “the cloud.” The tools should be much easier to implement and cost 5x to 10x less compared with traditional information integration tools available to the enterprise market from companies like Informatica, TIBCO, etc.

I separate all information integration into two distinct categories: batch and real-time. These categories have been powered by what we know as Extract-Transform-Load (ETL) and Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) respectively, where ESB inherited EII/EAI with the emergence of SOA. Designed for cloud computing, Middleware 2.0 across both of the above categories should come in as many as three packages:
a) Pure-play

b) Built into mashup building tools, such as Dappit, Teqlo

c) Built into emerging enterprise software available on-demand, such as DabbleDB, Blist, and Swivel.

During the next two to five years, Middleware 2.0 will evolve to quickly and inexpensively link “the cloud” and the existing on-demand and on-premise applications and databases across the enterprise.
My next post will be about the long tail of information integration. I will take on how the technology adoption of data integration tools looks today, and how it will look in the near future.

Three Trends Influencing Enterprise 2.0

In this post, I will describe the top three drivers influencing the adoption of Web 2.0 in Enterprise 2.0. In my next post, I will express my opinion on whether mashups are capable of pushing Web 2.0 into the enterprise arena.

Trend #1: Shift to Cloud Computing
In “cloud computing,” documents and business information are managed online. Google is rapidly building an amazing platform for rolling out on-demand applications on a worldwide scale. Very soon, Google Apps will be a good-enough solution for millions of small business to solve most document management and collaboration problems. Have an idea where all these multi-tenant applications and zetabytes of data will be hosted? Google will spend $500M $3B this year to build the largest data center in the world. Services like Amazon EC2 (covered here and here) offer pay-as-you-go fully managed server time. On-demand computing is going to completely change enterprise IT architecture. When it only costs $70 a month for a dedicated virtual server with fantastic connectivity 24/7, and you can turn them on and off as needed, why would you want to mess with hardware on-premises?

Trend #2: Growth of Web 2.0 Content and Infrastructure
Since 2005, many successful venture capitalists have been trying to find yet another promising Web 2.0 startup to add to their portfolios. Pundits speculate that during the last two years close to a billion dollars were invested into Web 2.0. During the next five to seven years all this money will pull off a lot of infrastructure with an enormous amount of content and data on it. But in order for a Web 2.0 company to secure longevity, aggregating terabytes of user-generated content and having lots of servers to serve traffic to gazillions of registered users is not enough. You’ve got to create an ecosystem. How will these newly-minted Web 2.0 companies create ecosystems? Ecosystems will come through APIs and data mashups with other websites. ProgrammableWeb maintains the best up-to-date API directory. Look at how fast APIs are being added to their database. In a very short period of time, the key advances of Web 2.0 (namely collaboration and new ways of sharing information) will become an attractive target to benefit enterprises.

Trend #3: Mashups
2007 has been named by BusinessWeek as “the year of the widget.” Widgets are small embeddable components that can seamlessly integrate on third party sites and can deliver content from beyond the realm of the site. To help users create widgets, a growing number of companies out there are developing mashup building tools:
I learned about Dapper at the Mashup Camp unconference at MIT on January 17, 2007 where I met Eran Shir and Jon Aizen, the company founders. Dapper is an impressive new online mashup tool that takes the concept to the extreme, making it possible to convert and reuse just about any source of information on the Web, including that in plain old HTML. This promising startup has recently closed a round of financing with Accel Partners.
DataMashups.com is a new highly Web-centric mashup tool complete with a WYSIWYG “edit” mode.
Grazr is an application development system for feeds and their GrazrScript is a programming language for feeds. John Musser of ProgrammableWeb posted a recent news update on Grazr closing $1.5 million Series A round of financing.
JackBe’s JackBuilder product is a browser-based mashup tool to create mashups called “Rich Enterprise Applications” or REAs. JackBuilder is an entirely Ajax based IDE that allows widgets, components, and services to be integrated together into enterprise mashups
All of these tools allow for building a quick and dirty SOA, and are aimed at technology enthusiasts. Focused on web screen scraping and RSS, today’s mashup design tools could hardly be applied across the enterprise sector. But that will change. Mashup technologies can and will disrupt enterprise applications. During the next three years, mashups will open up a new enterprise application market, providing business users and IT departments with a quick and inexpensive approach to develop and implement applications. And during the decade following 2010, maturing mashup building technologies will shrink the enterprise application market. In my next post, I will write about whether mashups are capable of pushing Web 2.0 into the enterprise space.

 

 

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