Intel’s MashMaker Demo to Debut in Closed Beta in July

Imagine being able to quickly and easily be able to take information from sites like Google Maps, eBay, Craig’s List, Digg, and others, and join it together in meaningful ways – such as the many different mashups displayed on Programmable Web.

The difficult with creating many of those mashups is that they require some knowledge and programming skills. What if it were easier?

One of the papers published for presentation at SIGMOD’07 in June, was MashMaker: Mashups for the Masses (pdf). The paper was prepared by Rob Ennals of Intel and Minos Garofalakis of Yahoo Research, and presents a tool that makes it easy to create mashups from many sources.

Mashmaker aims at enabling nonexperts to make widgets that combine data from different sites. The paper shows off the interface of Mashmaker, and describes how it works. According to a vnunet.com article, Intel makes mash-ups for the masses, a demo of the program was shown last month, and a closed beta will be released this month to allow people to test and try out the tool.

A paper from berkeley.intel-research.net provides many more details – User-Friendly Functional Programming for Web Mashups (pdf) A snippet from the paper:

MashMaker is a web-based tool that makes it easy for normal users to create mashups from live data on the internet. Users can query, combine, and explore data, using an interface inspired by spreadsheets and web browsers.

Like a spreadsheet, MashMaker mixes program and data and allows ad-hoc unstructured editing of programs.

Like a web browser, MashMaker allows users to find the information they are interested in by browsing, rather than writing code, and allows users to bookmark interesting things they find, forming new widgets — reusable mashup fragments.

What benefit might there be to using a tool like Mashmaker? This second paper provides some example mashups that could be created with the tool:

  • Which of these houses on Craigslist has lots of good restaurants nearby according to Yelp, and would be less than a 30 minute commute to work according to Google Maps?
  • Might any of these news stories on BBC News affect people in my GMail address book?
  • How much would each of these recipes from Epicurious cost to make if I brought the ingredients at Safeway?
  • How much of my weekly expenditure according to Bank of America goes to companies who donate money to political parties I don’t like according to OpenSecrets?
  • What is the best route through town according to GoogleMaps that allows me to visit highly rated shops according to Yelp that sell suggested Christmas presents appropriate for each of my friends according to FindGift?

Mashmaker sounds pretty intriguing. I’ll be looking forward to it becoming publicly available.

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5 thoughts on “Intel’s MashMaker Demo to Debut in Closed Beta in July”

  1. MashMaker does sound very interesting Bill. I couldn’t help, but think a little about Yahoo Pipes as I was reading, though what you’re describing here sounds easier to use and more accessible to non-programmers.

    I haven’t had a chance to read through the PDFs yet, but I will and I’ll be looking forward to seeing MashMaker become publicly available too.

  2. This is very cool. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing MashMaker. I’ve take a look at the PDFs briefly, but there’s so much to digest there that I’ll have to give it some more time.

    With the iPhone coming out, I think we’re going to see more portable devices in the future that will include all sorts of data from different sources, all mashed together. It might even be easier to shop and buy things if you have more data even like reviews and other info about products when you’re actually standing in a “brick and mortar” store.

    As for the mapping part, I just hope that they get better about covering more areas in the future and updating those satellite pics more often. Turns out that where I live just about all the mapping services don’t work very well.

  3. Hi Steven,

    The second paper that I linked to above, User-Friendly Functional Programming for Web Mashups, compares MashMaker to Pipes and some other programs/tools for mashups on page 9. From that comparison, it sounds like MashMaker will let a user do more than Pipes does.

    Good to see you, Bill.

    Mixed data from sources of your choice – something like this MashMaker opens up a lot of possibilities, including the example you describe about shopping with iPhone in hand. I’m looking forward to it.

    It would be nice to see more frequently updated maps outside of metropolitan areas.

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