the point at which a new technology gives the broad public access to tools once considered the domain of a specific profession, resulting in an explosion of artifacts. Most of these artifacts will be badly produced, but a few will be genuine innovations, and the artifacts will eventually regain regularity as the public acquires a more discriminating eye (and templates).
Now TechCrunch is reporting that Yahoo has launched Pipes, a service that "allows you to take data from one or more sources and to bring it together" -- not just by grabbing feeds, but by adding basic programming functionality:
I haven't tried Pipes yet, but the idea of adding programming functionality to aggregation is kind of a big deal.
But Yahoo! Pipes goes beyond what just pipes are and what pipes do though as the application provides functions (or as they are called in the app - modules) that will perform a variety of different actions. There are modules available to prompt the user for input (a variety of input types), different operators to count, loop, cut, count, sort and merge data along with a variety of string and date functions. Because of this already broad base of available functions, Yahoo! Pipes is more akin to a shell scripting environment for the web rather than just a simple conduit between applications. It works like a visual procedural programming language with the output of the process dropping out at the bottom, in the form of text output, RSS, SMS alerts of even JSON. You can use feeds, user input or other pipes as input.
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