Mashup Camp

I just returned from , a Silicon Valley "unconference" that brought together mashup developers and API providers. I was happy for the chance to get the word out about Post Remix and some of the mashup-friendly data we have here at washingtonpost.com such as RSS feeds for every member of Congress.

There were plenty of interesting ideas, tips and demos. Here are some highlights:

  • Tantek Çelik led a discussion on microformats, simple ways to add metadata to HTML documents. For instance, calendar information can be expressed in a format called hCalendar, which just requires a couple of easy-to-add tags and attributes in your HTML. That's something we ought to do at washingtonpost.com.

    Another microformat, which is particularly relevant in a news context, is hAtom. It's still being solidified as a proposal but, once it firms up, it'll be a way of coding normal Web pages so that Atom feed readers can interpret the page contents -- headline, content, summary, date, etc.

  • In a discussion of whether API providers (such as map API providers Google, Yahoo and Microsoft) should settle on a consistent documentation format, somebody asked a smart question: Shouldn't the providers instead focus on making the APIs consistent, so only a single set of documentation would be needed for all APIs? Already some developers have created higher-level APIs that "wrap" the various map APIs to provide a consistent interface and make it easy to switch between providers.

    Although I doubt this consistency will happen, it's worth thinking about this problem in advance for any sort of new APIs. For example, if/when we release some sort of news API here at washingtonpost.com, we should try to mimic existing APIs as closely as possible, rather than reinventing the wheel.

  • TWOCrowds, one of the dozens of mashups demoed at the event, is a "social predicting website." You register for an account, enter a bunch of predictions or mark your agreement with other users' predictions, such as "Apple will release a phone." There's a page that displays the most popular predictions, along with related news stories, which are automatically grabbed from Yahoo's news API.

  • Google Maps + Fast Food displays fast-food restaurants on a U.S. map. Here are the Washington-area fast-food joints.

  • Mashfu lets you click anywhere on a U.S. map and shows you stuff nearby, via searches of Yahoo Local (restaurants/bars/etc.), EVDB (events) and Yelp (reviews).

  • Edgeio lets people post classifieds simply by posting them to a personal weblog with an RSS feed and including a "listing" tag. Edgeio looks for RSS entries including that tag and aggregates them.

  • Weather Bonk publishes weather forecasts on a hyperlocal level. It takes weather data from a variety of sources and plots each point on a map. For instance, here's Washington-area weather.

  • Check out the (incomplete) list of mashups presented at the event for all sorts of interesting ideas.

By Adrian Holovaty |  February 22, 2006; 5:37 PM ET  | Category:  Mashup community
Previous: "What's up": Global news map | Next: Google News Cloud: Automatic tagging of news stories

Comments

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Posted by: kate | March 7, 2006 01:58 PM

Adrian,

If I am not mistaken, wasn't there someone from http://www.frucall.com at Mashup camp?

Posted by: Michael Brito | August 19, 2006 10:20 PM

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