Swinging through the Jungle with Mash Maker and SearchMonkey

Updated: Spanish and Portuguese translation of tutorials added.

One of SearchMonkey's niftier features is the ability to create custom data services that uses XSLT to extract structured data from a site's markup. If you don't own the site in question, this is a great way to extract meaningful information and use it to build a SearchMonkey application. Conversely, if you do own the site in question, an custom data extractor can help you quickly prototype your SearchMonkey application before you add structured markup (microformats, eRDF, or RDFa) to your site.

Developers who already know XSLT can write a basic extractor with little trouble — the actual XSLT code for a SearchMonkey extractor usually isn't that complicated. But XSLT is an esoteric language, and the learning curve can be steep.

Which brings us to Intel Mash Maker, a nifty browser extension that enables you to extract structured information from disparate websites and create mashups on-the-fly, without having to write any code. Among other things, Mash Maker is a user-friendly creator of structured information... while SearchMonkey is a large-scale consumer of structured information. Some sort of integration seems natural, and indeed we are proud to announce that the Mash Maker team has just added built-in support for SearchMonkey, enabling you to autogenerate the XSLT code for a SearchMonkey application with a few clicks. How does it work? Check out the tutorials below:

Currently, this experimental support for SearchMonkey exists in the Firefox version of Mash Maker only. We're hoping to continue to work with the folks down the road at Intel to find new ways to make it easier than ever to create structured information, so try it out and let us know what you think.

Evan Goer
Yahoo! SearchMonkey Team