Mashup Camp IV Day 2: Google Mashup Editor

Best Mashup Camp quote: “music is to mashups as porn was to the internet: it’s what drives it”.

I’m in the session on “Mashing” client-side mashup tools, where Jason Cooper from Google is demonstrating a mashup called Jookebox that he created using multiple Yahoo Pipes, such as one to retrieve album tracks from Amazon, assembled using the Google Mashup Editor (which I just received an account on the closed beta yesterday, by coincidence).

You can build the entire web page in the browser-based Mashup Editor in XML format, with the big difference between Pipes and GME is that Pipes outputs an RSS feed whereas GME outputs a web page. We had a discussion about how the mashup tools can often be categorized into enablers (which build the widgets, data feeds, etc. from underlying data sources, like Pipes) and builders (which assemble the components into a mashup, like GME).

Google’s goals in building their mashup editor was to remain standards-based, and eventually to open it up for extensions. There’s a whole gallery of mashups built using GME here (weirdly, not searchable…), and if you go to any of these, then there’s a “View Source” link in the top right that allows you to grab the source to learn how it was written. There’s a lot of mapping applications there, obviously, but there’s also things like a simple feed reader and a task list with nary a map in sight (or in site, if you like bad geek puns). You’ll also find a list of resources in the sidebar of the gallery page, such as how to get started, event handling, using the JavaScript API, etc.

We discussed a number of competitors, such as IBM’s QEDwiki, BEA’s Pages and Bungee Labs, although the Google guys state that these products play in a different place than them: GME is much more of a developer tool, since it’s basically a browser-based text editor that you drop code into rather than a drag-and-drop environment. They may decide to add nicer UI stuff in the future, such as a design view to accompany the code view.

Jason also talked about more complex mashups, such as using Dapper to parse a page into a more structured data source, feed it into Pipes for further slicing and dicing, then take the output feed from that and create the mashup using Google Mashup Editor.

We ended up with a discussion about the use Google’s geocoding in a GME-created mashup; currently, all GME apps use a single geocoding API key so there’s no issue of going over your daily limit, although there may be changes to this in the future.

Product roadmap:

  • Open up the beta by the end of this quarter
  • Allowing mashups to be hosted on other domains
  • Feeds from Google Calendar and other sources
  • New UI widgets

I’m looking forward to trying it out.

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