Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Intel Mashmaker : Dream Come true

"Intel" the name itself brings different feelings in different individuals.
I was quite surprised when i heard that intel research labs is coming out with a software product.
Yes, Intel with a software product. Hard to believe but it is truth.

Mashmaker is the name of the product. The tagline describes its intent which says "mashups for the masses".

Nearly all the big players in the software industry have wither launched their mashup product or are in process of building one. Take example of Microsoft, it has POPFLY which even has a developement environment and lots of features to make simple and useful mashups.
Yahoo has Yahoo Pipes.

So what is new with Intel mashmaker ?

Intel mashmaker feeds user with mashups while they surf web. It makes surfing fun for users.Think about this, when you search for sony handycam on google and you want to see Yahoo,MSN LIve, altavista results for sony handycam on same page, mashmaker do this for you. It can bring you all the results on the same page with just a button click on mashmaker toolbar.

I was excited when i used mashmaker and built a mashup which takes pics from my friendlist from Orkut and plot it on googlemaps. Faces were plotted on their current location. For example Vivek chakrapani's pic was plotted on Banglore. Exciting isn't it !!

Users can create useful mashups while browsing the web and save them for future use for himself or he can also share the mashup with others.

Once a user makes a mashup he can choose from the available list of widgets to render the mashup.

Here is where Pramati technologies comes into picture. Intel outsourced the creation of widgets part to pramati technologies.

I was one of the lucky guys who got to work on this project called Intel Mashmaker visualization engagement.

We were a team of 4 developers and 1 CSS guy. We among us developed 12-15 widgets.
some of them are Google maps, Table, Calender, Image , Photo Tile etc.

So once a user creates a extractor to extract data from the page he visits , he can choose from a list of widgets to render the data or mashup.

Example: When one search apartmentlist from craiglist.org/apa, he can view the results in Table widget and he can also see the image of the apartments in Image widget or Photo widget.

Developing widget was an exciting task as we went deep down into javascript and browser issues.

It started with mocks for widgets using photoshops, doing HTML/CSS, adding functionality to it using javascript and mamking this widget work with mashmaker API and lastly seeing that it works in IE and firefox.

Each and every widget was reviewed and re-reviewed by Vivek(VP SOA Practices @ Pramati) and team.

Finally on June 22nd, Intel reaped fruits of our as well as their efforts when they demoed Mashmaker at WEB 2.0 Expo.

Mashmaker has taught me a lot and its a gr8 product. If you have time please try it at http://mashmaker.intel.com/web/

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