As most mashup developers know, only a small fraction of the most useful data on the web is provided through a proper API. This is why parsing data from RSS feeds or screen-scraping HTML is such a widely used mashup technique. But often that's a lot of work, the kind of work that's better done by a tool than by hand coding every time.
To address this need, established enterprise tool provider and ProgrammableWeb sponsor Kapow Technologies this week are launching openkapow, a mashup-focused developer community. The new site leverages their visual programming language and IDE to build robots that run on the Kapow Mashup Server. Together they turn any web page into a structured data source. Built-in support includes core technologies like RSS and REST. Tutorials take you through creating an RSS robot to read from Digg, a REST robot to search with Google, and a Web Clip robot to parse Wired News.
Previously their tools had been only available for enterprises (case studies here) but with this week's announcement the company is making this available to individual mashup developers. The client download is free as is hosting and running robots on their server. The goal, as founder and CEO Stefan Andreasen describes is "we hope to accelerate the adoption of mashups in the enterprise through the network effect and grassroots momentum that a large open community can generate."