Alas, when you visit http://pipes.yahoo.com/, all you get is:
Our Pipes are Clogged!
Due to overwhelming demand we’ve had to significantly increase available capacity. We’ll be back up shortly.
Here’s what Yahooite Jeremy Zawodny has to say (and he ought to know):
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.
That sounds cool. Tim O’Reilly is even more excited:
Yahoo!’s new Pipes service 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.”
He goes on to describe it as ‘turning the web into a programmable environment for everyone’, and actually has a screenshot showing the service in action. I’m looking forward to trying it out.
UPDATE: I have laid some pipe. I built a very simple ego feed from my sundry blogs, Flickr and Upcoming (filtering out, of course, items that include the term ‘patchouli). I haven’t got the sorting working correctly, but it’s a start.
I like the interface a lot. Speaking as a nearly-nonprogrammer, I could get underway immediately and build something simple in five minutes. On the other hand, I’m not totally intimidated by what I don’t understand. That’s a tough outcome to achieve.