If you’re not a nerd, you may not have heard about this yet. But Yahoo just released a new service called Pipes…and it’s a big deal. Pipes is a feed (RSS/Atom) aggregator and manipulator…but that really doesn’t do it justice. It provides a powerful and interesting Ajax-based editor that is one of the best tools of this type I’ve ever seen. For those of you who are forced to deal with Microsoft DTS…this may remind you of it…but trust me, nicer. *grin* That’s really only a skin-deep comparison; a much better one would be the basis for it’s name…Unix pipes, and the small, loosely-coupled tools that unix programmers have built on that foundation for decades now.
I’ve just started playing with Pipes, but I’m already REALLY impressed. Flickr-like impressed. Google Maps-like impressed. Python-like impressed. Awesome stuff.
A combination of it’s ajax-iness (light, cross browser, cross-platform) and it’s clean interface gives me confidence that these
power user visualization/workflow type tools may actually be going somewhere, finally.
Tim O’Reilly has a good essay about Pipes in O’Reilly Radar last week. He does a much better job than me explaining the history and potential of this tool. It’s a great essay…give it a read, then come back and play with Pipes! Let me know if you come up with anything cool…I’ll do the same.