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What is a Mashup?

A mashup is a website or web application that seamlessly combines content from more than one source into an integrated experience.  Check out two 2 great mashups:   101World.Com and this site MASHUPS101.COM (did you know that this site you are reading now is a Mashup?).   

The etymology of this term almost certainly derives from its similar use in pop music where DJ's take the vocal track from one song and combine it with the instrumental track of another song resulting in an entirely new composition.  

Many people are experimenting with mashups using eBay, Amazon, Google, and Yahoos APIs. The increased use and popularity of mashups has increased with the emergence of Web 2.0, which is characterized by active user participation and interaction.

Much like how blogs revolutionized online publishing, mashups are revolutionizing web development by giving creative power to the masses. Many mashups are relativley easy to design with minimal technical knowledge, and thus custom mashups are being designed by unlikely innovators, utilizing data in creative and unique ways. While there are several useful mashups, many are simple novelties or gimmicks, with minimal practical utility.

Most mashups interface with and utitilize information from established companies and web applications.

It is postulated that mashups are the beginning of the end for traditional operating systems. While operating systems currently serve as a collection of APIs for organizing and storing files and applications, it is quite possible that in a few years all APIs will exist entirely online, and that operating systems will be replaced by browsers.


   Mashups Related Events 
Mashup Camp Organized by David Berlind for mashup developers, mashup API providers, other mashup enablers (eg: tools), and others with an interest in participating in the now-evolving mashup ecosystem.

Mix06 A three-day Microsoft-organized event with the tagline "Mix the next Web now."

TechSoup's NetSquared Remix the Web for Social Change


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  Mashups Information and Mashups Resources


Mapping Mashups

Mashups, though they have been around since the first API was released, have begun to garner more media attention since the beginning of 2006 due to many web companies beginning to fully embrace Web2.0 technologies that enable many people (and more specifically web developers) to easily interface with the primary company’s intellectual property. A good example of this would be Google letting the public interface with their Google Maps software and databases so that individuals can develop many new and creative uses for the mapping software. One of the more popular Google Maps mashups is the Chicago Crime map. There is an entire blog devoted to popular Google Mapping mashups. Mashups can take the form of many other projects from the ingenious (a combination of Craigslist and Google Maps) to the obscure, such as birth places of Oscar Winners. Other popular mashups include those that allow fans of popular TV series to see where many scenes from each episode were filmed. This data is compiled by devout fans, not the television network. Another mashup allows fans of American Idol to home in on each of the contestants home towns.

Video Mashups

Video mashups are mashups that use online video provided by video sharing services APIs together with other types of data. For example, a mapping application can display thumbnails of video clips next to different geographical location, allowing application users to play video clip about that location. Video mashups are similar to photo mashups made popular by the Flickr API [1] but they use video data instead of photo. Currently, [2] and Grouper Networks [3] provide free video APIs for mashup developers.

Mashup Camp

However, mashups are not just limited to mapping. Mashups jumped into the media spotlight with the first Mashup Camp which took place in Silicon Valley on February 20 – 21, 2006. Co-organized by David Berlind the executive editor of business technology for and Doug Gold, the Camp Agenda covered the gamut from MashingWikis to APIBestPractices. At the conclusion of mashup camp, the attendees voted for the best mashup. The winner by a margin of 9 votes was Podbop, a mashup by Taylor McKnight and Daniel Westermann-Clark that allows users to choose a city and listen to legally available music from bands playing in town that day and in the future. While the free event was limited to the first 300 registrations, the publicity mashups gained through this event was a major windfall to the community.

Major news sources from CBS News to Newsweek (posted on MSNBC) all took an interest in what mashups can do. The San Jose Mercury News also took an interest in the event. This increased publicity not only increased awareness in the technical community but also introduced many outside to the new concept of combining multiple great technologies together to create an extraordinary program.

Mashup Camp 2 is already in the planning stages.


"Nowadays, there's a lot of talk about Web 2.0, web mashups, Ajax, etc., which in my mind are all facets of the same phenomenon: that information and presentation are being separated in ways that allow for novel forms of reuse." Sho Kuwamoto

"The mash-up part of this equation, is the offspring of an environment where application developers see it in their own selfish interest to facilitate the creation of integrated, yet highly derivative application hybrids by third parties, something they do by providing rich public APIs to their user base." Mark Sigal

"We know we don't have a corner on creativity. There are creative people all around the world, hundreds of millions of them, and they are going to think of things to do with our basic platform that we didn't think of. So the mashup stuff is a wonderful way of allowing people to find new ways of applying the basic infrastructures we're propagating. This will turn out to be a major source of ideas for applying Google-based technology to a variety of applications." Vint Cerf



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