Jim Courtney knows mashups. He's been a judge recently in the Skype Mashup contest, and has been a proponent of the concept since the Voice 2.0 Manifesto was published two years ago. That's why his latest piece, The Dawn of the Mashup World – Part I: Challenges, Why and Expectations, makes for such an authoritative and interesting read.
Jim mentions iotum as a mashup publisher. It's absolutely true. We do it because, in addition to all the good reasons that Jim lists in his piece, it's the cheapest way to build applications. For example, our latest effort — Free Conference Calls on Facebook — is a Ruby on Rails application hosted inside Facebook. It uses XML interfaces to communicate with our conference bridge, and the text messages it sends are delivered by California-based business partner 4INFO. Because each of these components is discrete, and provides well documented web services interfaces, we were able to very quickly deliver some key pieces of software. For example:
- much of the conferencing development work was done by a third party. The Facebook application wasn't actually interfaced to the bridge until quite late in the process.
- the business portions of our agreement with 4INFO were actually substantially more time consuming than the work to interface our application to their network. Their choice to present the 4INFO service as a web service made our job easier.
Stay tuned for the rest of this series. It promises to be a very interesting read.