Category Archives: mashups

Add functions to your mashups with Utility Mill

Utility Mill – Makes Utilities

Utility Mill looks like a kick ass hosted service for mashup development. It lets you create hosted web services that run your custom Python code, handling input and output in an easy way. This service fills a hole in the “mashup stack” by adding custom scripting functionality without the need for a server side scripting language. So, if you need to perform any kind of filtering or munging of your mashed up data, and you aren’t exactly a Javascript guru, you can still keep everything client side by passing your data through Utility Mill first.

Other really nice features include commentary, revision control,  and mandatory GPL licensing. It’s also not a bad way to pick up some Python knowledge–especially when you see contributors named “guido.” Here are a couple fun/interesting/useful ones I found:

and of course:

  • MetaUtility Enter some Python. Run it. See the output.

I was able to register on the site and write a silly little UUID Generator in about three minutes :)

I’d really like to see this done for PHP or Ruby too.


YDN Theater: MashUp Camp — Dublin

Chad Dickerson and Tom Hughes-Croucher hit the streets in Dublin to ask, “what’s a mashup?


Mashup University. I talk about AOL’s XDrive

One of the AOL guys couldn’t make it to Dublin, so Dave Berlind asked me to fill in. I took a different angle with this talk, and did it without any speaking. It was risky, but I think the reaction was great. This was probably the funnest ‘talk’ I think I’ve done.

I do want to add that the 128 bit part was shamelessly lifted from this awesome article about GUIDs.


Intro to Mashups – Mashup Camp 5 / Mashup University – Dublin

Here’s my slides for my intro talk:


I made it to Dublin

Not a bad trip. The guy next to me in the plane managed to spill a full glass of water all down my right leg while I was sound asleep. I turned the air jet on full blast and after 30 very uncomfortable minutes everything was fine. However, let’s coin a new phrase:

Aeroaquacadophobia

And I now suffer from it.

After a delightful cab ride to the Morrison Hotel (no relation to the album), I have a room and and Internet connection, Skype enabled!

My room at the Morrison Hotel My view from the hotel


Mashup Camp 5: Dublin!

 Mashup Camp 5

It’s on, bitches.

If I make it across the ocean, I’ll be 5 for 5 in Mashup Camp attendance!

For the third ‘Camp in a row, I’ll be teaching the Intro To Mashups talk, the very first session of Mashup University. It’s basically an ice-breaker talk that gets everyone excited and inquisitive about what we’ll be doing for the next three days.

I’m looking forward to seeing the friends I’ve made from earlier camps as well as meeting new folks. The challenge this ‘Camp will definitely be maintaining the balance between hacking on mashups during speedgeeking and a stable blood alcohol level. After all, this unconference will be hosted at the Guinness Storehouse!

“There can be no tradition without innovation.”
- Earle Hitchner, Irish music journalist


IBM Releases Mashup Starter Kit

Fresh news via ZendCon: Go download the IBM Mashup Starter Kit. Included are two web applications: the Mashup Hub, which serves as a repository for data feeds, and QED Wiki, which you’ve probably heard of by now. Developed on the Zend Framework  and Dojo, QED Wiki is a PHP wiki engine specialized for mashup development, no coding needed. At this point very few non-hosted mashup development platforms exist, and to my knowledge this is the first time the source code for such an animal has been released.

You’ll need several pieces to get the Mashup Starter Kit up and running, so setup may be a challenge for some. One specific requirement is a running version of DB2. I’m going to see if I can’t get QED wiki running on MySQL first though.

Oh yeah, screenshots here.

The source release of the Mashup Starter Kit is a significant milestone for the mashup community. Point and click tools such as Dapper and Kapow will help bring mashup ability to the masses with easy to use tools, while more experienced developers will benefit from the source release as a development platform.


Gears In Motion

Gears In Motion

A browser-based sqlite client to access Google Gears databases. Apparently has some built in relational features using the Rails naming conventions. Built with Gears and Yahoo!’s YUI.


Yet another AuthProxy

OAuth — An open protocol to allow secure API authentication in a simple and standard method from desktop and web applications.

Not much on this site at the moment, but keep an eye on this one.

With all the talk of opening the social graph we will need an open protocol to do proxy authentication, where users log into the data provider and not the mashup. Don’t confuse this technique with OpenID; it’s almost the reverse. OpenID lets you control who owns your login credentials, and this method let’s a mashup use your remote data without knowing your login credentials. This protocol definitely needs a generic buzzword–I’m gonna call it AuthProxy until someone more important than me comes up with something better.

Development-wise we have several solutions, from Google’s AuthSub and ClientLogin to Yahoo!’s BBAuth. If you’ve ever played with a site that does stuff with your Flickr account, you’ve used AuthProxy. It usually involves a username/password login on the data provider’s site, which then redirects back to the mashup with a token. The token is passed back to the data provider’s via an API call, which allows the mashup to access  the user’s personal data, but without sharing the user’s login credentials, or sometimes any identifying information.


Google Trends has a feed.

Just noticed that Google Trends is now sporting RSS feeds.  So I withdraw that little bitch-fest.

Now, Google should add a date param to the URI so we can grab the historical data. It’s available in the browser, so make it available to my scripting language.


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