Infrastructure // PC & Servers
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11/12/2008
09:27 AM
David Berlind
David Berlind
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Over $9K In Prizes Up For Grabs At Mashup Camp This Monday

Just a heads up that the seventh Mashup Camp starts this coming Monday, November 17th, at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. We've got room for 400 people in the building and are somewhere north of 375 registrations right now (see who's coming). Tim O'Reilly is keynoting and over $9,000 in prizes will be

Just a heads up that the seventh Mashup Camp starts this coming Monday, November 17th, at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. We've got room for 400 people in the building and are somewhere north of 375 registrations right now (see who's coming). Tim O'Reilly is keynoting and over $9,000 in prizes will be given out on-site to the best mashups.Back in December of 2005, when I first announced the launch of Mashup Camp, I really had no idea where the mashup approach to software development was going. All I really knew was that as application programming interfaces (APIs) go, the ones that were sprouting up all over the Web were far more interesting to developers (and ex-developers like me) than the APIs found in operating systems.

APIs do the heavy lifting that developers shouldn't have to do. In operating systems, APIs are good for drawing windows on screens or securely accessing the file system. It's stuff that developers care about and God-forbid you should be asked to develop those capabilities on your own. APIs take what might normally require thousands of lines of code and they compress it into one line into which developers can feed a few parameters (don't take that too literally, but it's close enough). Someone else (presumably, the operating system provider) went to the trouble of writing those thousands of lines of code and tucking neatly behind and API to make developer's lives a lot easier.

The question is, let's say your developing a logistics application to track all of your company's delivery trucks. What's of more value to you as a developer? The APIs in an operating system (that tend to work on just that operating system)? Or one of the geo APIs on the Web that can (a) toss a map into your application with one line of code and (b) that work across any operating system so long as it has a decent Web browser?

Those were the tea leaves I was reading when I came up with the idea for Mashup Camp and today, it's not surprising that big research outfits like Gartner have said that the mashup approach to compositing enterprise applications will be the dominant approach by 2010. I'm not sure what the underlying explanation for that conclusion is. But suffice to say that another big win for companies that go the mashup route is that, with the right tools at their disposal, mashups can be developed by ordinary mortals.

Visicalc (the first electronic spreadsheet program) enabled mortals to do things that once, only accountants with mainframes at their beckon call could do. This of course caused a massive proliferation of spreadsheets within organizations. Suddenly, everyone was a number cruncher (and a good one at that). Today's mashup tools promise to do the same thing in the area of software development. If you can envision mortal-developed mashups sprouting up all over your organization the way spreadsheets once did, then it should come as no surprise that Gartner is saying that in less than 2 years time, the mashup approach will be the dominant approach to compositing apps.

Once business people discover they can develop mashups almost as easily as they can develop spreadsheets, that same feeling of liberation that accompanied the discovery of spreadsheets will set in. Things will take off from there.

Over the last three years, I've watched as the mix of attendees coming to Mashup Camp has slowly evolved. We started off with mostly independent developers and a bunch of APIs (like Google Maps) with very few tools. Today, the mix clearly involves more business people and not surprisingly, tools from companies like Dapper (Dapp Factory), Denodo (The Denodo Platform), IBM (Mashup Center), JackBe (Presto), Kapow (Mashup Server), Serena (Business Mashups), and Thomson-Reuters (OpenCalais) that focus mostly on the business market. There are of course other mashup development toosl in the mix such as Microsoft's Popfly, Intel's MashMaker and Google (Mashup Editor) and Yahoo! (BOSS Mashup Framework and Pipes) which aren't necessarily so focused on businesses.

Fortunately, as more businesspeople enter the mix at Mashup Camp, that hasn't dampened the events organic, grass-roots nature nor its spirit or energy. If anything, Mashup Camp's business-oriented attendees are refreshingly energized by the innovative developers that have for so long been at the heart of the Mashup Camp community. One can only imagine what would happen to a business whose workforce suddenly became infected by the mashup fever that takes over Camp's developers.

This year, to encourage the spread of that fever, we've instituted many more ways for developers to win acknowledgments of their innovations. Whereas before, we offered a single Best Mashup Contest with three places, now we have over $9,000 in prizes available for a whole bunch of contests. One of those contests is our traditional Best Mashup Contest. The others are offered by Mashup Camp's sponsors to the best implementations of their technologies.

The competitions are just a part of Mashup Camp. There's also plenty of content for attendees who are just getting comfortable with the mashup ecosystem. In addition to a keynote by Tim O'Reilly, we have several "all-camp" panel discussions that will cover such topics as "How to make money with mashups" and "Making a business case for mashups in business."

I could go on about the unconference sessions and how those work, the chalktalks, and the speedgeeking. But you really need to come see it for yourself. If you haven't registered for Mashup Camp, there's still time. Just go to www.mashupcamp.com. Best of all, it's free.

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