Web Application Integration Using Mashups
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The HTML DOM is the W3C standard data model for HTML documents. A web page may be viewed as a tree structure with data nodes at each level, according to the HTML DOM, to enable web applications to access it dynamically. If a web page mashes up more than one web application, the data from one web application may flow as input into another. The user may manually transfer such data piecemeal by using the mouse to cut and paste the displayed text. Instead of this tedious and error-prone repetitious method of data transfer, the mashup may contain a software agent which can dynamically integrate web applications so that data flows from one to another automatically. The user indicates the source web application, e.g. by clicking one text item in a list. The agent traverses the source web application's internal HTML DOM structure, finding all data nodes at the same level as the user-indicated data node, in an attempt to discern the selection intentions of the user. A GUI displays the agent's selected nodes in an array structure, which is part of the mashup. The user may indicate from the array structure which array element to transfer into the target web application. As proof of concept, we have built a mashup of two iframes that uses an agent which selects text and transfers it from one iframe into the form input fields of the other iframe.