Quick Review:Ajax
Mashups: The new breed of web app

Mapping mashups

In this age of information technology, humans are collecting a prodigious amount of data about things and activities, both of which are wont to be annotated with locations. All of these diverse data sets that contain location data are just screaming to be presented graphically using maps. One of the big catalysts for the advent of mashups was Google’s introduction of its Google Maps API. This opened the floodgates, allowing Web developers (plus hobbyists, tinkerers, and others) to mash all sorts of data (everything from nuclear disasters to Boston’s CowParade cows) onto maps. Not to be left out, APIs from Microsoft (Virtual Earth), Yahoo (Yahoo Maps), and AOL (MapQuest) shortly followed.

Video and photo mashups

The emergence of photo hosting and social networking sites like Flickr with APIs that expose photo sharing has led to a variety of interesting mashups. Because these content providers have metadata associated with the images they host (such as who took the picture, what it is a picture of, where and when it was taken, and more), mashup designers can mash photos with other information that can be associated with the metadata. For example, a mashup might analyze song or poetry lyrics and create a mosaic or collage of relevant photos, or display social networking graphs based upon common photo metadata (subject, timestamp, and other metadata.). Yet another example might take as input a Web site (such as a news site like CNN) and render the text in photos by matching tagged photos to words from the news.

Search and Shopping mashups

Search and shopping mashups have existed long before the term mashup was coined. Before the days of Web APIs, comparative shopping tools such as BizRate, PriceGrabber, MySimon, and Google’s Froogle used combinations of business-to-business (b2b) technologies or screen-scraping to aggregate comparative price data. To facilitate mashups and other interesting Web applications, consumer marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon have released APIs for programmatically accessing
their content.

News mashups

News sources (such as the New York Times, the BBC, or Reuters) have used syndication technologies like RSS and Atom (described in the next section) since 2002 to disseminate news feeds related to various topics. Syndication feed mashups can aggregate a user’s feeds and present them over the Web, creating a personalized newspaper that caters to the reader’s particular interests. An example is, which combines feeds from the techie-oriented news sources,, and

Related technologies

This section gives an overview of the technologies that are facilitating the development of mashups. For further information about any of these technologies, consult Resources at the end of this article.

The architecture

A mashup application is architecturally comprised of three different participants that are logically and physically disjoint (they are likely separated by both network and organizational boundaries): API/content providers, the mashup site, and the client’s Web browser.

July 2008 | Java Jazz Up | 21
Pages: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29,

, 31, Download PDF