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Yesterday Jon Udell wrote about slicing and dicing, and then rewiring the web. Reusing websites as data sources is great - and Yahoo Pipes provides several such "sources" in Yahoo Search, Yahoo Local, Flickr, Google Base, and the basic URL Fetch. All these are great and provide interconnectivity and the ability to slice and dice certain parts of the web. But why stop there? The beauty of this annotating, slicing, and dicing, is in the reusability of this data - not just for reading blogs - but for transporting and exchanging real data that we can compute with. This is where Yahoo Pipes has missed the bus so far, but I have no doubt they will catch the next one.

Mark says that the power in Pipes is that it "gives you more structure and semantics to grab onto and use in the modules, building more value into standard components, rather than having to go and re-invent the wheel for each application". But does it really? It could, if it didn't rip valuable data out of the sources.

Yes, my biggest complaint about Yahoo Pipes right now is that it does things to my feed that I don't ask it to. If I source a Flickr feed and output it - I get a feed with a title, description, link, and pubDate. But I happen to know that there is a lot more rich data inside that original Flickr feed. There are so many great data feeds out there - Yahoo has some very useful ones - why rip out that useful data?

I have enjoyed playing with Yahoo Pipes, but right now I can't use it with my data feeds like the ones that RSSBus generates from my SQL Server, my QuickBooks installation, my bank account, etc. Well...I can use it, but I can't get at all the details of the feed - only what is exposed in title, description, link, and pubDate!

One of my favorite things about the RSSBus Desktop server is that it lets me slice and dice the web (feeds), but on top of that it also gives me the option of slicing and dicing it with my own private data. I know that may be extra nerdy, but it sure is cool to me.

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Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 11:55 AM | Back to top

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