Steps 4, 5, 6 and 7

By David Strom  |  Posted 2008-04-30 Print this article Print

Seven steps toward creating your first enterprise combo of newsfeeds, web sites and data.

STEP 4: Pick your mashup editor.

There are now more than a dozen software tools, dubbed mashup editors, for assembling your own mashup. Think of what the integrated programming environments have done, à la Visual Basic, only on a more primitive level. Google’s Mashup Editor claims it is a limited beta, but if you have a Gmail account, you can get access within a day or two.

Microsoft’s Popfly, which requires a Windows Live ID, is simple to use and has a quick tutorial to get you started. It provides a bunch of different data sources and connectors to assemble your mashup.

Other popular editors include IBM’s QEDWiki, Yahoo’s Pipes and Wavemaker.com, built on top of Dojo and JDA from Axajian.

STEP 5: Sign up for services and download tools, instruction manuals and related wares.

Once you pick your platform and tools, you’ll need to create an identity with the service you’re using. This involves registering and obtaining your own license key to begin programming. You set up a user ID with the overall site (Google, Yahoo, etc.) and request a key.

Each of the platform sites includes copious examples, interface documentation and other things to help you learn how to use them. If you are not a programmer, stick with Microsoft’s Popfly universe.

STEP 6: Pick out a couple of existing mashups to experiment with and learn how they work.

To get some experience with mashups, copy what someone else has already built. Here are some good examples:

For Salesforce.com, poke around its Appexchange (salesforce.com/appexchange) and try the following:

  • Infopia sells a management app that mashes up Salesforce with data from Amazon, eBay and other major commercial sites;
  • The new Datasul Fleet Management app from Brazilian company Datasul is a bit more enterprise-like;
  • A custom mashup that allows Skype to dial out and make calls from the SalesForce address book;
  • Faceforce, Salesforce.com’s connector, which allows you to integrate your customers and Facebook profiles.

For Yahoo, check out:

  • Stockaholic, from EditGrid (www.editgrid.com), takes information from Yahoo’s Finance charts and creates interactive spreadsheets and charts.

STEP 7: Build your mashup!

All this may seem like a lot of preparation, but now you’re ready to start dragging and dropping applications and connectors—or writing code. So have fun mashing!


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