Part I. Remixing Information Without Programming

In Part 1 of this book, we look at how to recombine information without resorting to formal programming techniques. There is much that can be done by carefully examining various web applications from the perspective of an end user looking for integrative opportunities. In Chapter 1, we’ll study in detail several specific mashups to get you oriented to mashups and to some general themes that we will continually revisit throughout the book. In Chapter 2, we’ll analyze Flickr, a remix platform par excellence that we’ll study throughout the book, comparing and contrasting it with other remixable platforms, including, Google Maps, and Chapter 3 shows how user-generated tags are used in Flickr,, and Technorati and discusses how to create interesting tag-centric mashups. Chapter 4 discusses RSS and Atom feeds, perhaps the most widespread dialect of XML, as both a potent technology for sharing information across the Web and as a specific way to learn about XML. Finally, Chapter 5 uses Flickr’s integration with weblogs as a jumping-off point for exploring weblogs and wikis and their programmability. Part 1 lays the foundation for the rest of the book, which teaches you how to programmatically create mashups.

Table of Contents

1. Learning from Specific Mashups
Looking for Patterns in Mashups
What Is Being Combined?
Why Are the Constituent Elements Being Combined? What’s the Problem Being Solved?
Where Is the Remixing Happening?
How Are These Elements Being Combined?
Comparable Mashups
Google Maps in Flickr
What Is Being Combined?
Why Are the Constituent Elements Being Combined? What’s the Problem Being Solved?
How Are These Elements Being Combined?
Comparable Mashups
LibraryLookup Bookmarklet
Configuring a LibraryLookup Bookmarklet
Invoking the LibraryLookup Bookmarklet
How Does This Mashup Work?
How Can This Mashup Be Extended?
Comparable Mashups
Tracking Other Mashups
2. Uncovering the Mashup Potential of Web Sites
What Makes Web Sites and Applications Mashable
Ascertaining the Fundamental Entities of the Web Site
Public APIs and Existing Mashups
Use of Ajax
Embedded Scriptability
Browser Plug-­Ins
Getting Data In and Out of the Web Site
The Community of Users and Developers
Mobile and Alternative Interfaces and the Skinnability of the Web Site
Is the Web Site Run on Open Source?
Intellectual Property, Reusability, and Creative Commons
Tagging, Feeds, and Weblogging
URL Languages of Web Sites
Some Mashups Briefly Revisited
Flickr: The Fundamentally Mashup-­Friendly Site
Resources in Flickr
Users and Photos
Data Associated with an Individual Photo
User’s Archive: Browsing Photos by Date
A User’s Popular Photos
Account Management
Browsing Through Flickr
Geotagged Photos in Flickr
The Flickr Organizer
Recent Activities
Mailing Interfaces
Interfacing to Weblogs
Syndication Feeds: RSS and Atom
Mobile Access
Third-Party Flickr Apps
Creative Commons Licensing
The Mashup-­by-URL-Templating-and-Embedding Pattern
Google Maps
URL Language of Google Maps
Viewing KML Files in Google Maps
Connecting Yahoo! Pipes and Google Maps
Other Simple Applications of the Google Maps URL Language
Amazon Items
Subject Headings
Screen-Scraping and Bots
3. Understanding Tagging and Folksonomies
Tagging in Flickr
Tags in Flickr
How Tags Are Used in Practice
Creating Your Own Tags
Syntax of Tags in Flickr
Potential Weaknesses of Tags
Singular and Plural Forms of Tags in Flickr
Hacking the Tagging System: Geotagging and Machine Tags
Interesting Apps Using Flickr Tags
Tagging in
Mechanics of Adding Tags in
Dealing with Case and Multiword Phrases
Getting More Information
Gathering Content Through Tags in Technorati
Searching Technorati with Tags
How Technorati Finds Tags on the Web
Word Inflections and Syntactic Constraints in Technorati Tags
Using Tags to Mash Up Flickr and
Other Systems That Use Tagging
Relationship of Tags to Formal Classification Schemes
4. Working with Feeds, RSS, and Atom
What Are Feeds, and Why Are They Important?
RSS 2.0
RSS 1.0
Atom 1.0
Extensions to RSS 2.0 and Atom 1.0
Feeds from Flickr
Flickr Feed Parameters
Examining the Flickr Feeds
Exchange Formats Other Than RSS and Atom
Feeds from Other Web Sites
Finding Feeds and Feed Autodiscovery
Feeds from Weblogs
Wikipedia Feeds
Google and Yahoo! News
News Aggregators: Showing Flickr Feeds Elsewhere
Validating Feeds
Scraping Feeds Using GUI Tools
Remixing Feeds with Feedburner
Remixing Feeds with Yahoo! Pipes
A Simple First Pipe with Yahoo! News
Google News and Refactoring Pipes
Wikinews and NY Times: Filtering Feeds
Pulling the Feeds Together
5. Integrating with Blogs
Integration Scenarios for Blogs
Sending Flickr Pictures to Blogs
Configuring Flickr for Integration with Blogs
Blogging a Flickr Picture
How Does the Flickr Blog Integration Work?
Desktop Blogging Tools
Combining Feeds and Blogging to Generate Feedback Flows
Flock: Bringing Together Blogs and Flickr
RSD: Discoverability of Blog APIs
Wiki Integration at an Early Stage