web mashup is a new type of web applications that uses data and services from one or more external sources (usually from the Internet) to build entirely new and different web applications. Wikipedia defines a mashup as a web application hybrid. While most prominent web mashups use publicly available APIs like Google Maps, Amazon ECS, and more, this is not the only way to do mashups. Significant innovations can be achieved with further aggregation and hybridization of code and data from publicly available APIs, with private data as well as private applications.
The idea behind web mashups is creativity and innovation in new data and services, not just aggregation of existing ones, which most of the older technologies focus on. Wikipedia provides further comparison of portals, mashups and portals that are all content aggregations technology, web mashups differ because portals aggregate and display content and applications in discrete packages, whereas mashups integrate the data and services together and serve them out as a single application. Mashupshub site explained further that the different seems to be organization, with portal more centrally designed, and each portlet with some specific intention of being aggregated into one or more portal screens. An example of this is that while a portal will happily display a map of your current location, your address book, and today’s astrology readings in 3 different portlet windows, a mashup will display the astrology readings of 10 of your friends who are closest to you, in an online map occupying the whole browser space.
That sounds exciting, now I get to think, if this will affect me as I hope to be an interactive designer? The open source software is for me as a designer, is my creation that just allows and program to be used with the software to mix and match but still the software is mine. For example, with Firefox as open source software, others create widgets which still are not completely owned by Firefox, however, Firefox still owns the original program. It may mean less money, however, it will be rewarding in another way. Like you could have name recognition, not to mention learning from others; and, perhaps more traffic. With this could lead to the marketing aspect, where more traffic, invitations for other jobs, and, more money in terms of the advertising and fame. The bottom line that as an interaction designer, we need to learn that the fact of what is yours is not necessarily yours, parts of it belong to the community, and you get to enjoy the fame. I believe money will come in other ways. The fact that you do what makes you happy, while in the process getting the opportunity to earn money and fame makes the effort worth while.
del.icio.us Mashups, by Brett O’Connor, Wrox Press@2007
Ruby on Rails Web Mashups Projects: A Step by step Tutorial to Build Web Mashups, by Chang Sau Sheong, Packt Publishing@2008