Scrapplet, a service that's a cross between a Netvibes-style start page builder and a browser-based mashup environment, this week released a set of new features for integrating web-based content within the browser. The basic service allows users to build their own web pages by dragging-and-dropping content like text, video, widgets, feeds, etc from other web sites.
In this new update, besides enhancements like broader support for connecting with major social networks, the service now supports OpenAjax Hub. The Hub is part of the broader OpenAjax Alliance, an organization of vendors, open source projects and companies working to foster interoperability of Ajax-based technologies. What is the OpenAjax Hub itself? From their site:
The key feature of OpenAjax Hub 2.0 is its publish/subscribe engine that includes a "Managed Hub" mechanism that allows a host application to isolate untrusted components into secure sandboxes. With the Managed Hub, all communications between components pass through the host application’s security manager, which allows or denies each publish or subscribe request. As a result, the Managed Hub allows for safe Integration of untrusted 3rd party components.
By supporting OpenAjax, the Scrapplet service allows third party OpenAjax-compatible widgets to be integrated into the page. These widgets can then interact with one another in a more sophisticated fashion than many traditional portals or start pages because rather than just sit side-by-side in the page, they can send these messages to each other based on user actions or other events. For example, a widget that listed a set of street addresses could publish a message with any address a user clicked on, and a map widget could pick-up that message and plot that location automatically. To get a bit better sense of this, the Scrapplet site offers a small OpenAjax Playground that lets you interact with a few OpenAjax-compliant widgets and see the messages being sent between them.
It is good to see mashup tools like Scrapplet innovate by making use of promising standards like OpenAjax so that developers can in turn start reaping rewards of a more open palette of services and components to build from.