John Musser, from ProgrammableWeb.com, just gave an interesting session on enterprise mashups. ProgrammableWeb is an API/mashup aggregation site that tracks open APIs and mashups from around the web for use in both personal and enterprise mashups.

John pointed out that while many of a mashup's attributes can be found in earlier technologies such as:

Portals - Presentation Layer

EAI (Enterprise Application Integration) - Application Logic Layer

EII (Enterprise Information Integration) - Data Layer

that mashups are difference primarily because they are faster to create, less complex, and are based on primarily open standards.

John went on to offer some companies -  both startups and established - that provide open APIs and tools for building mashups. The one thing I found lacking with his session was the exclusion of existing companies/products that provide the foundational technologies for building mashups (EII, EAI, etc...) that have since offered open, standards-based APIs that could certainly be used to build mashups.

It's not that dissimilar from having an application delivery controller that's modularized. You may be using it for nothing more than load balancing and general availability, but it is likely capable of providing acceleration, application security, and other functions to address the many issues that arise when delivering applications. In a time of limited budgets it's always best to check if an existing solution might be able to be extended or upgraded to provide new functionality.

So before you run out and spend your already limited IT budget on new tools for building mashups, check your existing tools and products to see if they offer a standards-based mechanism for integration into a mashup. You may be surprised to find that you already have what you need.

Imbibing: Water, lots of water