Mashup creation tool Dapper announced today that its users can now easily create new modules from any data source for placement in the popular start page Netvibes. Dapper is a company that’s either glorifying screen scraping or leading the charge towards data portability, depending on your perspective. I like it a lot. Working with Dapper to enable fast user creation of new modules is a nice competitive advantage for Netvibes. Our previous coverage of Netvibes is here and of Dapper here.
Dapper first made the scene with the release of a tool called Blotter that displays any blog’s Technorati link data over time in a graph. The company has been on an innovation blitz lately, see for example the company’s recent proof of concept called Snag – a service that aggregates all your friends, updates and messages across LinkedIn, MySpace, Friendster, Facebook, and Hi5. That was the first showcase of Dapper’s newly added support for incorporating data sources that require login and it’s just plain useful.
Dapper users use a point and click interface to grab changes to data over time on any website. That data can then be delivered in any number of different formats, including RSS, iCal, Google Maps or many others. Dapper hopes that in addition to the relatively simple functionality it now brings to Netvibes, they hope to include more interactive features in their modules and extend this service out to more start pages and widget platforms as users request them and company’s approve.
Dapper reports that they have much more in the works and a User Interface overhaul is near the top of their priorities. That’s great news as the site certainly needs one. Once the service becomes even easier to use, I expect to see Dapper implementations flourish around the web all the more.
Update: Scott Matthews emailed me again after I posted this and reminded me once more that I could have and should have mentioned BittyBrowser as another way to bring Dapper built RSS feeds into Netvibes and many similar places. Matthews deserves a lot of credit as well for his work on making data portability a reality in the emerging web.