December 22, 2008

Scrapplet Sets Up Blank Canvas to Mash Up Web Activity

There are destination sites, and there are aggregation sites. There are enterprise-grade Web sites and then there are templates, easy to use for the average layperson. And then there is Scrapplet, a unique Web application that acts as a open slate for you to pull in data from around the Web, embedding images, RSS feeds, videos, and even complete Web sites, into a single page. The goal? Leverage the Web browser as the delivery vehicle, requiring no third party installations, and make your personalized site whatever you want it to be.

I spoke with Steve Repetti, CEO of Scrapplet, on Friday, and heard the story of how Scrapplet leverages "an efficient, pure JavaScript library that can do AJAX, windowing, messaging, data portability" and "integration with back-end components." The end result he said, is that "in the drag and drop world, the browser should do drag and drop."

If you sign up for Scrapplet, you are presented with a blank browser page, and have the option to pull in content from all around the Web, from social networks to Web sites, and can move it around, customize it and make it your own, packaged either as a single page, or you can set up many pages and build relationships between the pages so that it functions as a complete Web site.

Given the focus on data portability (Repetti sits on the board of, you don't need to create yet another account to work with Scrapplet, but can login with OpenID, your FaceBook, AOL, Google or Yahoo! ID.

In our demo, it was clear the number of options available to users is tremendous - so much so it can be confusing to know where to start. But after Repetti showed me example after example of dragging thumbnails to Web sites, dragging and dropping content, and even copying over a full Web page, I tried it for myself, and with some trial and error, I managed to make a page that shows my social network profiles from around the Web, displays my FriendFeed realtime stream, the RSS feed for this side, has links to other pages around the Web, and even hot links to other friends' sites, displaying their profile images from Facebook.

Click Image to See it in full or go to:

While the technology underlying Scrapplet is advanced, the requirements to use it are very simple. They claim the product works in all browsers and operating systems - with only a few exceptions. I was told for cross-domain drag and drop, you will want to use Internet Explorer or FireFox, and if you do use FireFox, there's a 4k plug-in.

As Repetti told me Friday, one of the biggest challenges Scrapplet has is that "it looks easy, and might not be," but he added, with confidence, "if you can conceive of it, I can instantly bring it to life."

In the last few days, I've seen this already to be true as Repetti has upgraded the service and helped squash the occasional bug. Given it's absolutely a beta product, you just might find some yourself.

You Can Display Many Different Object Types On Scrapplet

To get started with Scrapplet, go to: and use the Promo code of "louisgray" (without quotes).

To see some other users of Scrapplet, check out:
Robert Scoble:
Brian Solis: