Mark Bower has written a couple of interesting posts about the origins of mashing, the first referencing a earlier post of mine about spreadsheets. Bower says:
"James Dellow wrote last week on spreadsheets as an early mashup tool. I totally agree, and I don't think it was the first. Before RSS and web services provided a standard way to access data, ODBC was the defacto mechanism inside enterprises. In my book, Access predates Excel as an enterprise mashup tool. Information Workers truly embraced this, taking data sources from around their org, and pulling them together to create their own personal applications.
If anything Access was too successful, and in the post-millennium bug world, IT departments rushed to make their infrastructure more manageable by consolidating some solutions in centrally managed and hosted services, or mandating that these databases be removed. Access was then frequently removed from the standard desktop deployment of Office."
Great point about MS Access! I think similar comments can be said about Lotus Notes too.
Today Bower has also offered a list of what makes a good mashing tool:
- Ability to get data from a variety of different data sources/services;
- Ability to aggregate and manipulate data;
- Ability to visualise data;
- Ability to create no-code mashups;
- Ability to create shareable solutions; and
- Ability to create mashups that can be used as building blocks in other mashups.
If I could add one more point then it would be something along the lines that mashups should allow real people to solve real world problems quickly.
BTW I used Excel to access the Technorati API... actually, that reminds that Google really should think about integrating Google Sheets with their new mashup editor. There's life in the ol'spreadsheet yet you know.