Application integrations is a complicated topic. Especially when it comes to enterprise. I can confirm decades of different attempts to simplify integration tools and create an easy way build integrations. If you are long enough in enterprise software domain, you can probably remember the variety of buzzwords like EAI (Enterprise Application Integration), ESB (Enterprise Service Bus) and many others.
There are three main components in every integration solution – data retrieval (often called connectors), integration infrastructure (middleware) and specific business code to support your integration scenario. It is complicated and can fail in many ways. Navigate to one of my historic posts to read more – PLM integration failures.
There is a chance things are going to change these days. We are getting web-like more and more every day. Which means the technology we use (also in the enterprise) is getting more similar to technologies used to build regular web sites and applications. The amount of data on the web is skyrocketing. To have technologies that can help you to deal with this data (also for integration purposes) is important. The technologies can be applied in enterprise space as well and change they way we do integrations. I want to bring few examples of tools today to explain what I mean.
Import.IO. Few days ago, I learned about interesting company Import.IO. Navigate to the following link to read more – Import.io Turns Web Pages Into Spreadsheets For Getting Out The Data That Matters Most. Spreadsheets is a good thing. Since most of enterprise organizations are overflowing by spreadsheets, the ability to convert your data into spreadsheet is good. However, the most interesting past of Import.IO is an easy way to scrap data out of web pages. Imagine if you can scrap data from your enterprise web applications. That would be cool thing to do.
Import.IO is not alone in the game of scrapping and re-purposing data on the web. There are two other products that came to my mind when I was listening and thinking about the problem Import.IO is trying to solve.
Yahoo Pipes. According to Yahoo website, Pipes is a powerful composition tool to aggregate, manipulate, and mashup content from around the web. The idea of pipes is coming from Unix operation system. Yahoo developed quite interesting and nice infrastructure how to create pipes for scrapping and integrating data.
Google Fusion Tables. Another interesting piece of data re-purposing tools – Fusion Tables. This is an experimental tools created by Google Research. Navigate here to learn more. Fusion tables provides you another way to scrap, import, mix and re-shape data.
What is my conclusion? DIY integration tools is an interesting category. For the past decade, all DIY integration efforts in enterprise and manufacturing failed. Very few manufacturing companies embarked into integration development. Most of companies used services and integration providers that dedicated to develop integration solutions (with high $$ value behind the effort). Cloud technologies and web applications are open new era in both requirements and needs for integration. Native web tools can get some advantage. There is a possibility to open a new page in DIY integrations. Just my thoughts…