What are Mashups?

24. April 2006 21:41

As you may know, I did a presentation about mashups for the Alabama Code Camp.  However, I was rather disappointed that the attendance for the presentation was very low.  In fact, nobody chose to show for it.  Now, this could have been due to the fact that I was up against several other well known speakers during that particular timeslot.  Or, it could have been that people think I suck.  Or, it could have been possibly due to most people still don't know what is a mashup.  Since this was my first time speaking at code camp, I am going to assume it was the last option.  Consequently, let me give you a brief description and example of a mashup. 

Essentially, a mashup is a web application that consumes data from other web sites or services and aggregates (or remixes) all of it into a new web application.  I am sure most of you have seen some site where Virtual Earth or Google Earth is used to display various spatial data on top of the map.  Typically, these kind of sites are considered mashups.  However, mashups aren't limited to the canonical map example, but it definitely seems to be in the majority so far.

So, what kind of stuff can you make other than spiffy maps?  Well, there are numerous free services available to help you in your quest.  For example, Google has exposed a public API to access Google Calendar.  There are also sites like evdb that provide a complete nationwide event database.  Even the National Weather Service has an xml web service to get forecast information.  There are lots of possibilities for combining these various services into something new.

In the spirit of toying with mashups, I have added a section to my site.  You can find an online version of my code camp demo there.  As I continue to create some new mashups, I will post them to that section.  You can access it here.

If you are interested in playing around with mashups, then I highly recommend Programmable Web as a resource.

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About Me

I'm a passionate software developer and advocate of the Microsoft .NET platform.  In my opinion, software development is a craft that necessitates a conscious effort to continually improve your skills rather than falling into the trap of complacency.  I was also awarded as a Microsoft MVP in Connected Systems in 2008, 2009, and 2010.

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