In February 2007 Yahoo! launched Pipes, a drag and drop editor that allows non-programmers to build sophisticated RSS mashups with incredible ease. It has seriously changed how I build QuakerQuaker, adding a flexibility and allowing me to combine functions into one service. This does to mashups what Blogger did for blogs, as it gives a far wider audience the ability to splice and dice user-generated content.
Yahoo! Pipes now runs between source data and output. A simple example of its use is in categories, as shown in Figure 7.
Figure 7. Yahoo! Pipes splitting tags and recombining feeds
Although not obvious here, Pipes has taken one tag and used it to pull two Del.icio.us feeds for a particular tag: the general feed and my own personal feed. I then fetch and combine them in such a way that my entry will trump anyone else’s in the case of duplications (I use this sparingly as a way of correcting posts).
The most radical change resulting from Pipes is its source independence. As long as I promulgate a unique tag amongst community members, any tagging system with RSS output can be pulled into the final Yahoo! Pipe to be output on QuakerQuaker. I am no longer bound by technical restraints to a single service like Del.icio.us. If another social networking provider gives me greater ease or features I can easily add it to the Pipe and let those ...