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July 26, 2007 / Steven Citron-Pousty

Take away from Mashup University and Mashup Camp

Here are some of my digested thoughts on Mashup Camp/Univesity and by extension, some of what is happening in the mashup space.

The tech and the market place are maturing and there is real money in the equation now. There are now some of the more traditional players in this space (IBM and Intel) and people are not focused on just consumer apps. There is work on making mashups happen for B2B and B2E and intranet enterprise. Rather than mashups IBM is calling them situational apps – built quickly for the particular situation. I am not sure I like the terms since it sounds too much like you are just building apps for Homeland Security or DoD. That aside I do think it is time for a better term than “mashup”.

Not all of this work is ad-revenue focused either, companies like StrikeIron are selling data to be used in custom mashups. They are also using attractive pricing so that groups within enterprises or small businesses can buy the data to join with data they have internally. Combine StrikeIron’s services with something like SnapLogic(open Source), OpenKapow, DAMIO and QUEDWiki (from IBM), or Dapper and you can enable non-IT people to start creating interesting applications that answer questions they couldn’t answer otherwise.

There are quite a few groups creating platforms for “building and hosting” mashups with a fancy UI. Very much targeted at end users without programming experience. Players include the usual popfly and google mashup generator, but names you might not have heard of include Bungee Labs, Zude, and Proto. Proto is interesting to me since it allows for graphing and statistics. I think the problem for the non-google and MS people is how to get their tech into end-users hands and get adoption. There was some great technology demonstrated but the question becomes how to get people using it.

For us more traditional developers I was very excited about more platform type technology, such as google gears. There has been a lot of talk recently about how mutli-threaded programming is the wave of the future. I think for web developers one of the waves of the future will be understanding how to write sporadically disconnected apps. I know that the web is stateless by default so it shouldn’t care about connectedness, but I am talking about making your web app as functional as possible as long as it can connect occasionally. For mapping folks this could totally be the new hotness.

Interesting note for those people dissing SOA and ESB – be thankful for those people because what they have basically done is built the infrastructure to allow this mashups. [UPDATE: sgilles points out the ambiguity in my statement. I meant that  SOA and ESB have created the intranet infrastructure to allow for enterprise mashups. The software now comes with features to allow easier sharing of enterprise resources internally. ] By putting data on the bus they have allowed the sharing of data and they have convinced enterprise app vendors to build it into the software. I am not sure who the guy was but he was right on when he said that this next round of enterprise apps upgrades will make the enterprise very mashable in about 1-2 years.

There is also another group who are trying to allow people to create and manipulate data in a Mashupable way. The simplest in this group would be Yahoo! pipes going all the way up to groups like apatar (Open Source), openkapow, snaplogic, and Dapper. As marcp states “could screen scraping be any easier”. I gotta get playing with this tech.

The speed geeking exposed me to a slew of awesome mashups. It was really hard to decide who should get my wooden nickel. I am not going to list them here but it was great to see how creative people could be in such a short time. Some were just toy applications to show a proof of concept while some were things that could have gone to market right then and there.
On the logistics and such – what a great event – kudos to David and his crew. The food was good, AOL brought Guitar Hero, there was a free espresso bar, and they had some awesome Mashup DJs (found Party Ben while writing this and he is even better) playing tunes on the first night (a little different than lounge singers, though some disagree). Another thing was that the people were really friendly and excited about showing all the cool stuff they were doing.

My final thought is that mashups are here and going to be growing – if you want to get on the bus start thinking of yourself as an enabler rather than a controller.

For more write-ups check out ProgrammableWeb

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4 Comments

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  1. Sean Gillies / Jul 26 2007 11:18 am

    “Interesting note for those people dissing SOA and ESB – be thankful for those people because what they have basically done is built the infrastructure to allow this mashups.”

    They built the Web? I learn something new every day.

  2. Steven Citron-Pousty / Jul 26 2007 11:29 am

    Sorry I wasn’t more clear about this. I meant SOA and ESB have built infrastructure to build mashups within an enterprise. I will correct it above as well.

  3. Alex Barnett / Jul 29 2007 10:08 am

    Steven – thanks for the Bungee Labs mention. One quick to to point on this one is that Bungee Connect is very designed for programmers.

    thanks for the interest!

    alex.

  4. Steven Citron-Pousty / Jul 29 2007 10:12 am

    Sorry Alex – you are right and I remember you demonstrating how developers could use your web based IDE to code a mashup. Thanks again for the correction and the excellent demo…

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