Web 2.0 Best Practices: Application Programming Interfaces (API), Mash-ups, and Remix-ability

These are about new web services, applications that take data from multiple sources and merge it; providing added value. Wikipedia explains, “application programming interface (API) is an interface implemented by a software program to enable interaction with other software.” In web development, “a mashup is a web page or application that uses or combines data or functionality from two or many more external sources to create a new service. It implies easy, fast integration, frequently using open APIs and data sources to produce enriching results that were not necessarily the original reason for producing the raw source data. The term mashup is also used to describe a remix of digital data.”

The following examples of mashups make use of Google Maps API and Flickr. Combining BBC Travel feeds with Google Maps to show real time traffic problems and travel warnings and Flickr Sudoku!


Mint.com collects and aggregates data similar to those above. It claims to be “The best free way to manage your money”, displays PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice Award, with approvals from Kiplinger’s Magazine “Best budgeting site” and Money Magazine “Top pick” with a four-star rating, and it is FREE.

According to the Terms of Use Agreement, the company is owned and operated by Intuit Inc. (the makers of Quicken). Quicken and QuickBooks accounting software has been in close competition with M.Y.O.B. software for many years. Web services on the mint.com site includes information, tools, features and functionality specifically for assisting the visitor or member in managing your budget, understanding investing, credit card advice, saving money, paying off debt, saving for retirement, spending less eating out, buying a car, getting ready for taxes, and a lot more.

To join you MUST provide mint.com with all your banking and investment log-in information. Consequently, you authorize and permit Mint “to use and store information submitted by you to the Service (such as account passwords and user names) to accomplish the foregoing and to configure the Service so that it is compatible with the third party sites for which you submit your information”…

(“Add a bank to start managing your money” +Add Account, and takes you through the following easy steps:

1 Find your bank > Enter your bank name: e.g. American Express

2 Enter Credentials > User ID for your American Express account > Password for your American Express account

3 Connect! >Press Add It and you’re all set. Mint only requires you to set up once. While you wait, add your credit cards, loans, and investments to get your net worth.)

In providing its users with the best advice via accessing financial information and data from third party sites, would Mint (or you) be breeching any other Terms of Service that prohibit these sites from sharing them with third parties? Needleman warns, “Sites that collect this information may be seen as encouraging breech of contract, which is a legal exposure.”

What of the future of APIs, mashups and remix in web development? According to the Mashup Feed website, there is an average of 2.88 mashups every day. A list of companies involved in the latest mashup product developments appears in an article by Dion Hinchcliffe entitled “Mashups turn into an industry as offerings mature”, in which he also adds that a number of new mashup standards have recently appeared.

More to follow… please stay tuned



Hinchcliffe, Dion (15 May 2008). Mashups Turn Into an Industry as Offerings Mature.


Mashup Feed


Mint.com (from the makers of Quicken)

http://www.mint.com/       http://www.mint.com/privacy/terms/

Needleman, Rafe (Sept 2007). Legal Suicide for Web 2.0 start-ups: A beginner’s guide


Wikipedia – API


Wikipedia – mashup (web application hybrid)




Filed under Uncategorized

2 responses to “Web 2.0 Best Practices: Application Programming Interfaces (API), Mash-ups, and Remix-ability

  1. Jack Marrows

    I am surprised services such as this exist. I know that if I shared my banking details with a 3rd party my bank wouldn’t cover me if an fraud occurred. For such a site to exist I would suggest it must work very closely with the banks it supports. This app has great potential to replace the roles bankers play.

  2. Hi there Maureen
    Did you see Gavin’s Blog? He blogged about Wesabe
    which is similar to Mint in many ways. The blog URL is


    What your view about using this type of site? Would you add your financial data?

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