Enter the New Era of Programmable RSS Feeds: Yahoo Pipes

With the launch of Yahoo Pipes we enter a very new era of personal RSS feed mashups. This is a very exciting event. Any user can now select a collection of RSS feeds and even straight web pages and set up a rules collection to search, sort and filter feed entries into their personal mashup page. A very good series of short explanations and summaries of the powerful benefits appear in the O’Reilly Radar collection of blog entries.

Even more interesting from my point of view is the visual rule and mashup builder that is implemented wholly in Ajax. The various rule modules are simply dragged from the toolbar on the left of the page to the composition area. Pipe connections, from which the product gets its name, are then dragged between the rule modules to define the information flow. Sources of RSS feed entries and raw page content with filter and search criteria are piped through aggregators and sorting modules. Even JSON data can flow down the pipes.

The Ajax implementation currently does not perform well but we can expect that to improve in later versions. It is the simple but powerful composition modules that offer the impressive personal mashup potential.  Since each pipe composition has its own URL they can so easily be shared and appear on web pages, blogs, wikis and bookmarks. What a wonderful tool. It offers many happy hours of experimenting ahead.

Updated: an easy to follow how-to from Lifehacker

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About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

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