08 February 2007

Pipe Dream: Re-wiring the Net

The online world is awash with XML feeds. The great thing about XML is that you can grab it and do stuff with it very easily, because it's basically a structured text file. For example, you can feed one XML stream into another, combine them, and keep on piping them around. A bit like Unix pipes.

Hey, now that's an idea:

Pipes is a hosted service that lets you remix feeds and create new data mashups in a visual programming environment. The name of the service pays tribute to Unix pipes, which let programmers do astonishingly clever things by making it easy to chain simple utilities together on the command line.

What's particularly cool about this new service is the graphical approach, which looks a lot like programming flowcharts. The currently-available pipes are rather limited at the moment - this is still very new - but it's not hard to imagine some very rich stuff coming out of this. Bravo Yahoo. (Via GigaOM.)


Bill Hooker said...

I hate to be a wet blanket, but Yahoo is evil. Their well-established modus operandi is at odds with any efforts to develop a commons, and they should be avoided like the plague they are.

(They did me one favor, though: when they bought del.icio.us, I went looking for a replacement, and found the much preferable Simpy.)

Glyn Moody said...

I know, I know, but I thought that cool trumped evil (nice site, that)....

Besides, do you think Google are any better?