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Friday, April 19, 2024

Yahoo Pipes: Letting Non-Programmers Make Mashups & More

Yahoo launched Yahoo Pipes, “an interactive feed aggregator and manipulator” enabling you to “create feeds that are more powerful, useful and relevant.” It took me a deep read of Tim O’Reilly’s post to get an idea of what that actually meant. But since I can’t play with it myself at the time, because Yahoo Pipes seems to be slow or down right now, I want to quote Tim’s explanation.

Using the Pipes editor, you can fetch any data source via its RSS, Atom or other XML feed, extract the data you want, combine it with data from another source, apply various built-in filters (sort, unique (with the “ue” this time:-), count, truncate, union, join, as well as user-defined filters), and apply simple programming tools like for loops. In short, it’s a good start on the Unix shell for mashups. It can extract dates and locations and what it considers to be “text entities.” You can solicit user input and build URL lines to submit to sites. The drag and drop editor lets you view and construct your pipeline, inspecting the data at each step in the process. And of course, you can view and copy any existing pipes, just like you could with shell scripts and later, web pages.

An example Tim gives is “you can build a custom mashup to search for traffic along your own routes every morning, or a news aggregator that searches multiple sites for subjects you care about. All you have to do is start with one of the existing modules.”

Both Jeremy Zawodny of Yahoo and Matt Cutts of Google have their personal thoughts on the new tool. I also recommend you check out Techmeme for the huge list of discussions and coverage of the release.

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