Zawodny: There's got to be a better way to mash data
Pipes is a hosted service that lets users remix feeds and create data mashups in a visual programming environment, Yahoo explains. In other words, it's a way for non-programmers to create Web services.
Other companies are pursuing a similar goal. Ning offers a platform to easily create custom social Web sites. FortiusOne is developing what it calls GeoCommons, a public data-sharing resource for map mashups. And Teqlo, a startup, is building a platform to let non-techies create applications from Web services without programming.
One of the tenets of Web 2.0 is that data should be exposed through APIs for use by others. The challenge, according to Yahoo engineer Jeremy Zawodny, has been a lack of good tools to combine online data sets. "Building mashups has been more frustrating and time consuming than it needs to be," he writes in a blog entry.
Yahoo Pipes is an integrated development environment for mixing and managing online data sources. Using it, for example, you could create a single RSS feed of news alerts from a variety of sources. Yahoo expects to expand the possibilities in the future.
If Yahoo can figure out how to keep the Pipes site up and running--it was overwhelmed by user interest last week--it can boast of an innovative service for which Google, at the moment, has no answer.