Yahoo just launched it's very cool, very ajaxy new service Yahoo! Pipes last week. I've had some time now to play around with the service and create a few pipes.
If you read the hype on the web, pipes is supposed to bring programming to the masses and turn the entire web into a programming platform. If you read the hype on the pipes site, "pipes is a hosted service that lets you remix feeds and create new data mashups in a visual programming environment."
OK, so I get the feed mashup aspect - it's very easy to string feeds together, filter them very basically, and spit out a result. I did that here with the different feeds I use to monitor buzz about Wallstrip.
This alone is pretty cool for people like me, who regularly use feeds in their web work-flow. I would love the data integration aspects of this service to be more spelled out - maybe I'm just an idiot (maybe?) and definitely I'm not a programmer- not even an amateur one, but I thought this was supposed to bring programming to the masses.
On the other hand, I thought I might be getting with Pipes was a way to build easy web applications that use .xml as a background technology. In this case, I would understand why the data integration, etc was beyond me, but I would be REALLY excited because people who are smarter than me, but are not programmers could create all kinds of new applications that made life easier and made the web more personal, without the end user ever thinking about the fact that they're using RSS.
That's the future and potential of RSS. I've talked about it a lot on this blog.
But as far as I can tell, that's not what Pipes is about either - at least not right now. The output is simply a feed. There's no way to build an application around it, and user interface design is not integrated into the service.
So count me in the "see the potential, but a little disappointed in the beta" camp.