I’ve been doing a little more reading about Yahoo! Pipes lately, and today I came across this excellent (though somewhat long) post from Mr. Web 2.0 himself, Tim O’Reilly. He says (via BoingBoing):
It democratizes web programming, making it easier for people to have more control over the internet information services they consume, and providing a general-purpose platform for interacting with sites that is more powerful than the browser or feed-reader alone, but without requiring full programming skills.
I think that’s a great way to describe what Pipes is, and why it matters. Sure the interface could be improved and made easier to use, but it’s only going to get better from here.
Read: Tim O’Reilly
I decided I would take one last look at Techmeme before heading off to bed, and as a result I just found out about a new product from Yahoo! called Pipes. It’s definitely not for everyone, but my inner geek is jumping for joy – Pipes is very, very cool:
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.
I just created a quick “pipe” to see how it works, and I have to admit, it’s very easy to use. Essentially it will let you take any number of sources (like an RSS feed or something), add user inputs if required, combine them with modules to process the data, and finally connect them all together to produce some output. And it’s all done visually. No programming experience required (well not really).
Nik at TechCrunch nails it:
Pipes can take any feed as input, and combined with the already available list of functions proves to be very powerful – my mind is still buzzing thinking about all that can be done with Pipes.
It was inevitable that such a product would be released, and it is very good for Yahoo! that they managed to be the first of the big web companies to release such a product.
I wonder how successful Pipes will be. Could it be the product that allows everyone to be a “programmer”? Possibly. Nik is right that the terminology needs some work (they use too many “coder” terms I think) but that’s fairly minor. Pipes has incredible potential.
I’m definitely going to have to play with it some more.
Read: Yahoo! Pipes