Yahoo! has launched Pipes which is sure to overshadow Panama in terms of press coverage and popularity. According to Yahoo! Pipes "is an interactive feed aggregator and manipulator."
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.
Pipes makes the task of mashing up feeds such as simple blog entries as well as more complex machine generated data sources. Tim O'Reilly has the most comprehensive review of Pipes. He explains that:
"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."
Was there a way to simplify that? I could not find any. But if you want more of such explanations, look over at his post. Matt Cutts has called Pipes "a really neat idea." He also says that "Yahoo Pipes:
- has a fun UI for playing with slicing and dicing feeds
- doesn’t require a ton of work to save/publish modules (you do need a Yahoo ID though)
- produces easy-peasy urls that output RSS, so those urls could in turn be used by other people or in larger modules. Bonus geek points for staying true to the Unix pipe idea in that way."