September 18, 2017
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Within most enterprise IT organizations there is a tension between classic approaches to middleware based on software-oriented architectures (SOA) and approaches based on APIs that are easier to build and deploy but potentially more difficult to manage.
Most mashups rely on some type of API that's freely provided by a public web site. ProgrammableWeb tracks thousands of these resources across dozens of categories. Generally, these interfaces are SOAP or REST-based, but they may also work in cooperation with other open formats like RSS or Atom. In an enterprise setting, mashups have a more diverse set of protocols to potentially leverage including JDBC/ADO.NET (databases), SMTP/IMAP (email), and SNMP (network monitoring). Unless you are building a data mashup, one of the participants API's is usually focused on visually representing the data. It could be the classic Google Maps API, or perhaps some type of charting (Google Charts is a great resource).
There’s nothing quite as adventurous in all of IT as spending months building an application that depends on a third-party API for its success. For the most part, developers usually don’t know for sure how much stress the IT infrastructure supporting any given API can stand. If their application is wildly successful, it could suddenly slow to a crawl when that third-party API gets overwhelmed by requests.