Mashups also do not have to be public; instead, they can be inward-facing. By exposing the internal
core services of an organization, you can make it easier for developers to build applications within a
company’s infrastructure and also simply reuse data across the enterprise. This can lead to significant
cost savings and added value.
Yahoo takes this one step further with a concept called Hack Day. Simply put, a hack day is a day
where employees are challenged to develop a prototype of an application and present it to their
peers. Each application must utilize any number of the company’s products, services, feeds, and APIs.
Successful applications could potentially be developed into fully fledged products.
This approach to innovation helps breed creativity within the organization and serves to boost
morale—giving developers the chance to do something fun for a day, outside of their normal duties
There is nothing set in stone that says an API should be freely available to everyone. If you are the
owner of a data source that people are willing to pay to access, then there is nothing stopping you
from exposing an API and requiring developers to pay for its usage.
In the United Kingdom, companies such as the Royal Mail have been doing this for many years; it
allows other organizations to query its postal-code database for a small fee. Amazon also has adopted
a similar model for its S3 (online file/data storage) service, charging users for disk space and bandwidth
Although the commoditization of data might not always be appropriate, it can be a dependable revenue
source in those situations where it is.
In this chapter, you looked at the history of the Web and also saw how web application developers are
opening their applications and data with APIs and data feeds. You also looked at the motivating factors
behind this approach.
In the next chapter, you will learn about the technology choices you have when developing a mashup,
and you’ll take the first steps in mashup development.