Historically, a “mashup” referred to the blending of musical genres. While the term still retains that meaning in the music world, in computer lingo mashup has come to refer to the blending of multiple web applications (and their data) into a single interface or application.
Examples of common mashups include blending statistical data with mapping services (such as a combination of Center for Disease Control data on flu outbreaks with Google Maps) or linking trending topics on Facebook or Twitter with geographic regions to see what is popular in, say, Manhattan or Southern California.
The proliferation of web applications mashups can be directly attributed to the shift from “Web 1.0” to “Web 2.0” philosophies regarding web site design and data control. In the early era of the world wide web, companies generally controlled their data (and the access to that data) very tightly. As companies began moving towards “Web 2.0” attitudes, including more accessible user data, the proliferation of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces that allows third party developers to access and manipulate data) made it easy for interested programmers to blend the data of two sources (such as the aforementioned Google Maps and CDC blend) to create new and interesting data presentations and visualizations.
- By Jason Fitzpatrick on 03/1/13