Technology

The Mashup

douglas-karrThis week I’m in attendance at the first annual Mashup Camp in Mountain View, CA. The definition of a mashup as per Wikipedia is ‘a website or web application that combines content from more than one source’. To me, this simply means an integrated web application. In the last year or so, I’ve built several ‘Mashups’ or been involved in several Mashups.

Coming to the first Camp, though, has been an incredible experience. Meeting with developers big and small as well as the companies who are driving the technology has been fantastic. Though I am buried deep in the confines of Silicon Valley, I’m really starting to catch the bug! Web 2.0 is coming. You should be excited about it because it means rapid development, fewer problems bringing products to market, and easier integration.

Some cool stuff:

  • Eventful.com – this is an incredible tool built on the evdb (Events & Venues Database) API. Some of the uses are truly remarkable… for instance you can upload your iTunes play list and get back a calendar of the events associated with them. WOW. The developers even developed an IM bot that you can ask questions to. (Events in NYC Tonight? and it comes back with all of the events in New York City tonight).
  • Yahoo! and Google are turning the GIS world upside down with the open release of development API tools for address cleansing, geocoding, and mapping. I worked for a vendor 5 years ago that was spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for tools like this that are now available over the net for everyone to use.
  • flyspy.com – this company has built an application that basically rips the clothes off the airline industry and puts their crappy pricing schemes out there for the world to see! Are you checking on a flight price and wonder why it’s never changing? This guys tool might show you that you’re wasting your time… it may never change!
  • StrikeIron.com – the vending machine of the web for Application Programming Interfaces.
  • mFoundry.com – these folks are the masters of mobile integration. They demo’d a system where I could actually watch how my mobile-enabled application runs on the phone through a web interface!
  • Mozes.com – another Mobile tech mashup, these guys have some cool stuff. Right now they have a system released where you can text message the call letters of a radio station to find out the song that’s playing on the radio.
  • Runningahead.com – using Google Maps, these folks built an interface for trainers, bicyclists, runners, etc. to log their miles. Not just mapping the miles, but also displaying the elevation changes that are on the way!!!
  • Mapbuilder.net – this guy works out of his garage in his spare time and has built a GUI interface to build your own maps using Google or Yahoo! Not only that, but he’s developing his own API that is generic and talks to any of the other GIS APIs. Frickin brilliant!!!

Microsoft, Salesforce.com, ExactTarget, Zend, PHP, MySQL, Yahoo!, Google, eBay, Amazon… all the big boys were present. The nice thing, though… was that they were there to help and guide the ‘mashers’, not to push their technologies on each other. I didn’t see any flagrant sales pushes. The entire camp was really there to get the companies and the developers to unite to begin the ‘Mashup’ movement.

What a killer week! I have so much to bring back to my company as we continue to expand our own API. As well, it will be great fun to ‘Mashup’ our application with so many others. Not sure how much sleep I’ll get in the next month or two!

For more information, go to Mashupcamp.com. You can also register early for next year’s Mashup! I’ll see you there.

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