Wednesday, July 12, 2006

MashupCamp (1 of 2)

This is the first of either two or three posts on MashupU/MashupCamp. MashupU was Monday and Tuesday, while Camp is today (Wednesday) and tomorrow.

Word to the non-technical: Mashups are the cool new thing in programming - they combine multiple APIs (application programming interfaces, essentially interfaces provided by organizations both large and small that allow developers access to their methods and data) to create new, cool applications.

MashupU will be the focus of this post. The two days consisted of a handful of companies (big names being Microsoft, Adobe, Intel, Amazon, and AOL). Presentations that stuck out most to me:

Microsoft's Windows Live looked top notch. The live messenger demo involved combining chatting with simultaneous editing of documents, games, maps, etc. So you could talk to you friend about where you're getting lunch while locating the place on a map and getting info about it in the same window that both of you can see. Pretty cool stuff. The map UI (Virtual Earth) is also very good.

Plaxo was very interesting, only because I (finally) learned about them and their business model. The idea itself (an address book that is compatible with many applications) has always been good, but the reach that their "sync" program already has is incredible. They've got a ton of companies that are already compatible, giving their service significant value, and more companies will keep coming.

Amazon's S3 stuff was also pretty cool. One interesting side point is that they claimed 160,000 registered users, proving the developer community is in fact quite large. Amazon provides a ton of APIs and have created a decent model to monetize. The Elephant Drive mashup, which combines Amazon S3 with Intel's Mobile SDK is a sweet mashup that allows users to backup their hard drive very easily.

Adobe's also stuck out, especially because they've managed to do so much with their traditional proprietary system. Though it's hard to say how their shunning of the open source philosophy will fare in the mashup world, they've created a bunch of APIs and have quite a few mashups that developers have created, primarily due to the widespread reach of their Flash player. It was amazing how quickly their newest version, Flash 8, has gotten mass adoption.

The company I'm with, Mashery, also had a great demo, and we've done a solid job getting the word out about us. Conceived less than 2 months ago, it's a testament to our team (primarily the work of our founders and architects) that pretty much all 300-400 people at this conference have heard of us. As a quick overview, we aim to provide a turnkey solution for mashup developers and create a community for them to aid each other and enhance the development experience. This is everything from blogs, wikis, and forums to a extensive list of API providers and a whole bunch of other stuff. I'll blog when we launch, but if you're at all interested in mashups, you should check it out.

More to come, especially on the actual MashupCamp.

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