Playing with Yahoo Pipes for the first time. This is the UI I’ve been dreaming of for years. The data sources are bogged down with nasty RSS/ATOM semantics, but that’s mostly irrelevant. The important things:

  • Live, context-sensitive debugging. Want to know what the data looks like at a particular point in the graph? Click there. What if I change this parameter? It updates. WHY ARE PEOPLE NOT RAVING ABOUT THIS? THIS IS HUGE!
  • All parameters are programmable, but with the ability to specify defaults
  • Everything is declarative — not only textually, but visually.
  • One-click publish and deploy, with facilities to create basic UI and pre-fill it
  • Ability to clone and reuse pipes — each pipe is a module you can use in other pipes. Take someone elses pipe and view source, change it, reuse it.

I made a Pipe to convert h-feed/h-entry markup into RSS from scratch in about 15 mins, having never used the tool before (bear in mind also that this is not a tool built for consuming mf2 data structures): Convert Microformats to RSS. The tiny feedback loop the Pipes tool provides, both in deploying, sharing and debugging, enabled Tantek Çelik to find a bug in his site’s markup.

Again: WHY DOES NO-ONE KNOW ABOUT THIS? If it’s because processing stodgy, outdated, DRY-violating formats is its bread and butter, fair enough. Let’s rebuild this with microformats2.

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