petermr's blog

A Scientist and the Web


Yahoo! pipes – yet another workflow?

Nice presentation about YP – looks like they are going to start allowing custom web services. Drastically reduces coding – often to zero:

  • 10% of the web 2.0 pyramid (coders, remixers, bloggers)
  • assume prior knowledge (loops, data types)

Heart of system is, of course, web data.

  • engine tuned for RSS but not necessarily.
  • editor – nearly everything can do it in browser. Instant “ON” – no downloads. Dataflow apps tuned to visual programming. learn and propagate by “view source” (this is valuable metaphor)
  • design – easy to use. highlights valid connections. l2r readability. (find pizza within 1 mile of foo), dragability. debuggable on refresh.

Certainly looks slickr than Taverna. Uses <canvas> tag in many browsers. Runs on any modern browser (IE6/7 via SVG). Performance degrades with transparent layers. worst problem for Canvas is that it occludes DOM events (only click). [Obviously fairly hairy programming was required - transparency, drag etc.]. API rate limits (i.e. if your pipe is popular you might use up API rate)
XML, JSON, KML GeoRSS. Disposable Applications? And perhaps XML-over-the-web has finally arrived?

3 Responses to “Yahoo! pipes – yet another workflow?”

  1. [...] In the past few weeks the best feedback that we have received to allow us to either improve our system or review the science behind the predictions has come from Peter Murray-Rust at the University of Cambridge who has provided feedback regarding ChemSpider issues around inorganic and organometallic complexes. His posts have been addressed in comments of two blog postings (1, 2) and we are presently working on comments from his latest post (3). We thank Peter for his feedback to improve ChemSpider. We look forward to his ongoing feedback to help us improve the ChemSpider System and Services. Thanks Peter Stumble it! [...]

  2. Mitch Garcia at Berkeley has done some interesting things with Yahoo Pipes. I reviewed his chemistry ToCs Pipe on Sciencebase recently – – but he discusses them in more depth in his blog on


  3. [...] There was a lot of interest in the talk on Yahoo Pipes in the Developer’s Day track. A live demonstration was given which showed how Yahoo Pipes can be used to very quickly generate an application which processes structured information, such as, but not restricted to RSS. I’ve previous looked at Yahoo Pipes, but I know I should spent a but more time in familiarising myself with it, as I do think it has a lot of potential. Further information on the talk is given in a blog posting by Peter Murray-Rust. [...]

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