More Yahoo! Pipes Thoughts

by Krishna on February 11, 2007

I really don’t want this blog to turn into a Yahoo! Pipes site, but I have been blogging so much about Google’s products — why not give Yahoo! some buzz while I am at it. Probably, this will be my last post on them until I get time to explore the product another weekend (provided something else more interesting doesn’t hit the market in between).

I still think the documentation could have been better, but there is a much easier way to learn about the product. Go to “Browse Pipes” and take a look at the pipes that others have created. There are a lot of interesting ones out there. It seems like thousands of people have been visiting and running them.

That being said, I didn’t see any pipe that was really, really outstanding. This may have to do with the fact that the product has been made to be very simple. However, I feel that scripting or programming capability should have been added. In fact, there are many things I would have liked to do by parsing the content of a feed. I didn’t figure out how and the documentation (here I go again!) didn’t explain much.

Anyway, Yahoo! provides you the ability to view the internals of an existing pipe and then “clone” it which means saving it as your feed and then making the necessary changes. I created two useful feeds this way:

  1. One feed contains only the feeds from Google blogs that I want to read. When I started reading blogs, I started subscribing to each one of them. Later, I found a link “All Google Blogs” that allows you to subscribe to all of the Google blogs. This was more convenient, but it also had more posts that had little meaning to me. Now, I can pick and choose only what I want.
  2. The other feed contains all the feeds from my friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Many of these blogs are not maintained or updated very frequently. Keeping them in one pipe is much more convenient when subscribing to them using Google Reader.

I used the “Fetch” module which allows one to add many feeds in the same module. This is connected to a “Sort” module that sorts the posts by the updated date. Maybe this is just me, but I couldn’t find a way to resize the modules which made it difficult to read the URLs within the Fetch module.

As a less-than-power user with limited time, I was able to create pipes which provided some useful benefit to me personally. It is a good beginning. I hope the Yahoo! Pipes team can now cater to advanced and power audiences by providing the capability to develop more sophisticated and useful pipes. I think the concept of “without ever having to write a line of code” is commendable, but it will quickly drive away many interested programmers. I am also very interested in knowing what use cases the development team were thinking of when they started developing the tool.



Harish TM February 12, 2007 at 1:39 pm

"I think the concept of "without ever having to write a line of code" is commendable, but it will quickly drive many interested programmers."

I totally agree, and this thread on the Yahoo! forums seems to have some interesting "module request"

I am hoping they will soon realize that they can't fulfill all of them and instead allow users to add their own - through scripting languages maybe???

Vinod Ponmanadiyil February 16, 2007 at 5:28 am

Dapper is a pioneer on such though Pipes is Rich.

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