Mashup Poster Boy: John Herren

His is self-deprecating (see the way he has tagged his photo on Flickr). He's soft-spoken.

His is self-deprecating (see the way he has tagged his photo on Flickr). He's soft-spoken.  And, at any given time, with his long locks hanging over his face, he looks more like he's about to drop into a pool at the local skateboard park than he would be carving PHP source code out of his computer's keyboard. Here at Mashup Camp during an after hours party, the first words out of his mouth when we bumped into each other had nothing to do about technology.  Referring to my sytlishly factory-stressed Volcom baseball cap, he said "fun hat."  But make no mistake about it; John Herren is every bit one of the geniuses that's driving the mashup software culture forward. Not only is he the founder of the popular tagcloud generator,  John's skills so impressed the folks from Zend during last February's Mashup Camp that now, he's working for the company.  Here, at Mashup Camp 2, not only is Herren talking about the future of Tagcloud, he's demonstrating how, with Zend's new PHP frameworks, the company is taking all of the XML and Javascript drudgery out of developing mashups. 

Now, instead writing upteen lines of code to take advantage of a Flickr or Google Maps API, Zend is making it possible to do the same thing in two lines of code and Herren is here at Mashup Camp wowing developers with demonstrations of how.  Why is this important? Well, if you're Yahoo, eBay, Amazon, or any one of the hundreds of other API providers on the Internet today, servicing mashup developers and you want your APIs to be readily and easily available to PHP developers, then it makes sense for you to use Zend's framework to build PHP-based widgets for accessing those same APIs.  Although we didn't talk much about his involvement with Zend, I caught up with John for a podcast interview during one of the breaks here at camp.  You can download the audio interview, or, if you're already subscribed to ZDNet's IT Matters series of interviews, it will be downloaded to your computer or MP3 player automatically.