Home > Articles

This chapter is from the book

Types of Mashups

Mashups have several different colloquial interpretations, which has resulted in some confusion regarding the term and its use. The word originated in the music industry, where a mashup was a combination of two or more songs to create a new experience. Typically, the vocal track of one song was combined with the instrumental background of another in this process.

The technology industry extended this definition to encompass a new application genus that described the combination of two or more sources into an integrated site. This technique of development hybridization can be roughly split into two separate categories: consumer mashups and enterprise mashups.

Consumer mashups are generally associated with Web 2.0. They require a lesser amount of programming expertise because they rely on public Web sites that expose well-defined APIs and feeds (see Figure 1.4).

Figure 1.4

Figure 1.4 A small number of sites with public APIs account for the majority of consumer-created mashups.

Source: http://www.programmableweb.com/apis

The output is usually created by one of the sites participating in the mashup. In the classic "show craigslist listings on a Google map,"13 the API of Google Maps is used to plot and present the feed obtained from craigslist.com. The limitation of this approach was that resources had to be "mashup ready."

Enterprise 2.0 mashups (sometimes referred to as data mashups) are more complex. Depending on which solution a firm deploys, enterprise mashups can emerge in several ways:

  • Mashups are used solely by IT to rapidly deliver products. Application developers use both internal and external sources to create data mashups and employ traditional coding techniques to create the user interface around them. Users aren't directly involved in the construction process but they benefit from IT's ability to provide solutions more quickly.
  • IT creates a set of "mashable" components and gives end users a sand-box environment where they can freely mix and match the pieces together themselves. If users need new components, they have to solicit IT help to create them.
  • An organization deploys an environment that lets anyone create and combine his or her own mashups. This approach is the most difficult implementation to manage, but probably has the greatest impact. To understand the challenge of this approach, consider the use of Microsoft Excel in many firms. Users can create spreadsheet-based applications and pass them around without any central oversight of what exists, how it is used, or if it was tested. This friction-free creation and distribution model spreads good solutions as quickly as bad ones.

Whether mashups are used by IT, business associates, or both, their agile nature makes them a key enabler of Enterprise 2.0. Unfortunately, they are not without potential downsides. In an attempt to "deconstruct" the success of Google, the Harvard Business Review points out several pitfalls14 that can hinder success in a culture of open development:

  • As people spend more time experimenting, productivity in other areas can suffer.
  • Poor coordination across groups can lead to duplication of efforts and repeated mistakes.
  • A constant stream of new products may confuse the organization and its employees.

Despite these potential hazards, the authors indirectly identify the virtuous circle of Enterprise 2.0 (Figure 1.5). As diverse products are combined to create useful new resources, they themselves become fodder for the next generation of useful products. In principle, this process isn't very different from the longstanding goal of reusability that firms have strived for in their applications and architecture. Three important differences arise this time around, however:

  1. In the age of mashups "reuse" is no longer an ivory-tower concept restricted to the purview of application architects. Because end users and developers alike will be creating solutions, everyone will engage in the practice of reuse.
  2. The existing approach to reuse front-loads development efforts with additional planning and coding to create open APIs and extra documentation that may never be used. Because mashups impose reusability "after the fact," their creators will build their own APIs and include only the minimum functionality needed.
  3. Traditional reuse practices don't require that a system that leverages existing code or libraries is itself reusable. This leads to implementations that are essentially "dead ends." Mashups are implicitly reusable, which creates a never-ending cycle of potential associations and recombination.
Figure 1.5

Figure 1.5 The virtuous circle of mashups

Beyond their original intent within HTML, id and class attributes can also serve as "markers" for general-purpose processing by other applications/agents (e.g., mashups). Unlike the screen scrapers of the past that relied solely on positional information to parse screen content, mashups are able to examine the underlying attributes used to build the presentation. Although not a foolproof approach, this data changes much less frequently than the look and feel of a site, as demonstrated in the sidebar "Presentation Changes Don't Break Object Discovery." While consumer mashup builders queue up and wait for content providers to expose an API, enterprise teams are using Web harvesting to grab whatever data they want.

Enterprise mashups are not restricted to skimming content from HTML: They can leverage more structured formats such as XML (RSS, ATOM), Web Services, or even binary formats such as Excel and PDF (as shown in Figure 1.6). Nevertheless, the great promise of enterprise mashups derives from their ability to treat the entire World Wide Web as a first-class data source.

Figure 1.6

Figure 1.6 Enterprise mashups can consume a variety of different data sources.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020