Coté started out talking about why we want to do all of this, namely, the goal of moving to a connected model, where value is increased through increased connectivity. Mashups bring together information from multiple sources, thereby connecting those systems and services in order to add value.
He considers three aspects of applications:
- User interface, either a web app or an RIA
- Business logic in the application code
- Infrastructure, either on-premise or in the cloud
RIAs (rich internet applications) are user interfaces that mimic rich desktop user interfaces, but are the front-end for internet-connected applications, built using tools such as AJAX, Flex/AIR and Sliverlight. These are typically applications (business or leisure) rather than single-purpose functionality such as search.
Moving to the bottom of the stack, cloud computing offers a faster, cheaper and more scalable infrastructure, particularly for starting up a new service when the potential load is unknown.
One of the challenges is in integrating systems when you move to the cloud: cloud to cloud and cloud to on-premise, where the latter has the challenge of integrating across the firewall. Data integration is critical so that you don’t end up with silos of information locked into your applications’ data stores.
Chris Marino of SnapLogic followed up with a few slides about their view of application integration, moving from the bad old days of point-to-point custom systems integration to a utopia that uses SnapLogic as a hub to integrate applications using web standards (HTTP, REST, XML). SnapLogic connectors and servers can be combined for all sorts of data connectivity from cloud to cloud, cloud to client, and cloud to on-premise systems. They provide a graphical tool for designing a data flow between sources, including transformations, or for exposing an enterprise data source directly in a browser for mashing up using other tools. He moved on to a lightning-quick demo showing an interface to Salesforce.com data, allowing the data to be extracted to another system or even just to the browser as input to a mashup.
SnapLogic has both a free, open source community edition and a fully-supported enterprise edition available by paid subscription.