Integration challenges and solutions come in a wide range of scope and complexity–from multi-year, multi-million dollar engineering engagements to scripts that scrape a screen every hour on a cron job. Likewise, enterprises have historically taken on integration initiatives for a variety of reasons, most often to allow siloed legacy applications to share data without a complete rewrite.
Today, mobile initiatives are a huge driver of integration projects. Enterprise workforces increasingly demand access to the internal tools they use in the office on their phones and tablets.
For an Enterprise Integration solution targeting mobile, the architecture usually involves tying into existing tools and data stores, often transforming and caching some data before exposing a subset of the internal systems’ functionality via REST resources. It’s more like a specialized piece of middleware that also integrates systems than a full-blown Enterprise Integration project in the traditional sense.
Allowing access to mission-critical systems from smartphones is different from, for example, a business intelligence tool reporting on data from several legacy data stores. Security concerns are much more acute when access to the company’s revenue data is in a user’s pocket, accessible over the Internet rather than on an IT-managed workstation in corporate headquarters behind a firewall. Limiting access to only the necessary subset of data and guaranteeing industrial-strength security safeguards are two concerns of any mobile enterprise integration solution.
Network connectivity in the mobile world is reliably unreliable. Mobile APIs need to optimize payload size through compression, paging and properly designed data representations. It’s usually not enough to simply expose existing systems, even in organizations that have service-oriented architectures in place. Mobile solutions require an integration layer to pull data from several data sources and tailor the response to the app’s specific requirements.
Those internal systems you’re trying to connect to mobile apps themselves have a variety of protocols and interfaces. In a…Continue Reading Article