You can’t make an Omelette without breaking some silos!

May 24, 2012 by

You can’t make an Omelette without breaking some silos!

In this Dev8ed guest post, Scott Wilson introduces the Omelette Project and describes what he will be getting up to at Dev8ed.
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Omelette is an EU research project developing technologies to support mashups that include telco and other services more typically found in lower-level SDKs. So we have editors and runtime environments for wiring up widgets that can talk to voice and conferencing services from telcos, mashed up with the more usual kinds of web APIs such as maps, feeds and so on. There are lots of telco APIs turning up these days – Twilio has been making headline lately, but also Tropo and the Deutsche Telecom Developer Garden have some great APIs for mashups.

In Omelette we have a visual editor, MyCocktail, that is used to create Widgets and Service Mashups. The Widgets are mashup components that have a HTML UI, and these are saved as W3C Widgets, so they can work nicely in Apache Wookie and other Widget runtimes. In these instances all the mashup logic is inside the Widget in JavaScript.

The editor can also be used for Service Mashups, which don’t have any sort of user interface, but can be a building block used in creating Widgets for example. The service mashups use server-side JavaScript so you can deploy them using SSJS servers like Node.js.

However, things start to get even more interesting when you combine multiple widgets and services to make some kind of useful site. In Omelette we call these “Workspaces” and we’re using Apache Rave for this. As well as combining a set of widgets and services, there is also communication between widgets enabling all kinds of integrated and emergent behaviour in the workspace. It also supports OpenSocial gadgets as well as W3C widgets, and intercommunication between them, which opens up some fun possibilities.

Finally, you can also export and reuse a workspace – we’re working on an Open Mashup Description Language to let you do that, so that you could take a workspace from Apache Rave and drop it into something like SAP StreamWork, LifeRay or SharePoint.

As well as this toolchain we also have services for locating existing mashups, widgets and services to reuse, and recommender agents for suggesting mashup configurations – the idea is that we try and circumvent some of the frustrations of trying to build apps based on multiple third-party APIs.

Omelette is working closely with a lot of other projects as what we’re delivering are core tools and frameworks used for mashups that can be used in a lot of scenarios – so tourism, customer management, and education are some of the things we use for demos.

Unlike most typical funded R&D projects we are delivering a lot of our technical work through contributions to existing open source communities rather than making new prototypes – so we’ve been enhancing Apache Wookie, Apache Rave, and we also hope to bring MyCocktail from being an internal Logica open source product into being more of an open community software project. We think this is a much more sustainable approach than trying to sell a “platform” at the end of the project, and also makes it easy to collaborate with other projects and companies without a lot of beauracracy.

There are lots of Widget-related things happening at Dev8Ed so I’ll be participating in some of those with an Omelette hat on (so to speak) and can also show off some demos of widgets doing interesting things with telco APIs.

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Bookings for Dev8eD have now closed, but if you have an idea you would like to see worked on during the event, please add a comment to our Dev8eD ideas page.

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