Yahoo! has recently launched Yahoo! Pipes which is a new beta service that enables users to create “data mashups” by dragging and dropping RSS feeds and other content and then connecting them up in such a way that would make it easy, — and also save them so that other people can edit and re-use them.
Yahoo says that “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.”
Tim O’Reilly claims that Pipes “is a milestone in the history of the internet. It’s a service that generalizes the idea of the mashup, providing a drag and drop editor that allows you to connect internet data sources, process them, and redirect the output. Yahoo! describes it as “an interactive feed aggregator and manipulator” that allows you to “create feeds that are more powerful, useful and relevant.” While it’s still a bit rough around the edges, it has enormous promise in turning the web into a programmable environment for everyone.” (link), however many commentators on his article quite rightly point out copyright issues.
O’Reilly admits that using such a system isn’t for the timid; and with the lack of good examples and a clear explanation of why normal (read, non-geeky) users would want to use such a service – the potential of Yahoo! Pipes may be lost to the very people it’s trying to market to.