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What Happens If Yahoo! Pipes Dies?

News appeared recently that Yahoo’s video editing site Jumpcut has stopped accepting new uploads, and users are being encouraged to move over to flickr. (On the odd occasion I’ve played with online video suites, I’ve tended to use Jumpcut, so I’m not overjoyed about this. Just FYI, Jaycut or Photobucket (which uses Adobe Premiere Express) are my fallback positions…)

This news got me thinking – again – about what my fallback position would be if Yahoo! Pipes disappeared. (Regular readers – and anyone who’s seen me give a mashup related presentation lately – will know I’m a bit of a pipes junkie;-)

So here’s what I’ve been saying I’m going to do for a long time – and maybe by posting it I’ll provoke myself into doing something about it next year…

  1. Set up a wiki… Yahoo Pipes Code Bindings, or similar;
  2. for each block in Yahoo! Pipes, post the following:
    • an image of the block;
    • a code equivalent for that block; (e.g. a fragment of Python, PHP, Javascript or Google Mashup Editor code that is functionally equivalent to the block);
  3. that’s it… or maybe show a minimal example pipe using the block, and an equivalent, working, PHP, Python, Javascript or Google Mashup Editor programme;

What this would mean is that a screenshot of a Yahoo pipe could act as a specification for a a feed processing programme, and the bindings from blocks to code would allow a translation from the visual pipe description to some actual (working) code.

That would be okay for starters, and would at least mean I’d be able to ‘rescue’ large amounts of the functionality of pipes I’ve blogged about without having to rethink all the algorithms, or work out too much (if any) of the code. Cut and paste job from the code equivalents on the wiki… (err…?!)

As well as rescuing the functionality of the pipe, this approach also has the advantage of making Yahoo pipes acceptable as a rapid prototyping code for a list a quick rush of code that can be run on a server elsewhere.

How could the process be improved? Well, taking a cue from the AWSZone Sctarchpads (which, err, appear to be down at the moment?), it’d be nice to be able to just generate the code from the actual pipe.

How might we be able to do that? I’m not sure, but I’d like to think the following would be possible:

  1. using a browser extension, or Greasemonkey script, capture a Javascript object representation of a pipe from the Edit view of that pipe;
  2. parse the Javascript representation of the pipe and translate each Pipe block to the appropriate code binding;

So the vision here is you could edit a pipe, click a button, and generate the code equivalent of the pipe. (Of course, it’d be really nice if Pipes offered an “export pipe as code” option natively;-)

(After all, Zoho Creator Deploys to Google App Engine: “When you open an application in Zoho Creator in edit mode, you’ll see a new option ‘Deploy in App Engine’ under ‘More Actions’ menu (on the top). This option will let you generate and download the Python code (App Engine supports deployment of Python only apps) of your Zoho Creator application which you can then deploy to Google App Engine. … Zoho Creator essentially acts as an IDE for Google App Engine.” So why shouldn’t Pipes pipelines also deploy elsewhere too? Why shouldn’t “Yahoo pipes essentially act as an IDE for feed-powered pipelines in Python, PHP, Javascript and the Google Mashup Editor”?)

PS If anyone wants to create a wiki and start this process off, please be my guest (I’ll be largely offline over the Christmas period, so won’t be able to run with this idea until the New Year, if then…)

Written by Tony Hirst

December 19, 2008 at 11:34 am

Posted in Pipework

Tagged with

9 Responses

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  1. [...] here: What Happens If Yahoo! Pipes Dies? Related ArticlesBookmarksTags The Difference Between PHP Echo and Print Few other web [...]

  2. Just a small point – Google have killed Google Mashup Editor, so that’s probably not a good idea.

    Nick L

    February 16, 2009 at 4:03 am

  3. Just came across your blog post after seeing that Yahoo Pipes was down today. Have you seen any Pipes-to-code solutions since you first wrote about it? I agree it’d be stellar to export code and run it from my own server rather than depend on Yahoo.

    Andrew W

    May 31, 2009 at 7:24 pm

  4. [...] Kelly would probably tell me I need to do a risk assessment… I’ve already done one: What Happens If Yahoo! Pipes Dies? – but I haven’t made a start on the contingency stuff that was considered [...]

  5. [...] Starting to Think About a Yahoo Pipes Code Generator Published February 25, 2010 Pipework Leave a Comment Tags: dev8d Following a marathon session demoing Yahoo Pipes yesterday (the slides I didn’t really use but pretty much covered are available here) I thought I’d start to have a look at what would be involved in generating a Pipes2PHP, Pipes2Py, or Pipes2JS conversion tool as I’ve alluded to before (What Happens If Yahoo! Pipes Dies?)… [...]

  6. [...] I keep coming across when trying to get folk interested in using Yahoo Pipes is the question of what happens if Yahoo Pipes Dies? I tend to post a lot of screenshots from some of the pipes I build, so I’d stand some chance [...]

  7. [...] drop feed-oriented programming application that is Yahoo Pipes. Some time ago, I asked the question What Happens if Yahoo Pipes Dies?, partly in response to concerns raised at many of the Pipes workshops I’ve delivered about [...]

  8. [...] pour flux avec drag and drop qu’est Yahoo Pipes. Il y a quelques temps j’ai demandé Que se passera-t-il si Yahoo Pipes disparaît ?, en partie en réaction aux préoccupations exprimées aux cours de nombreux ateliers consacrés à [...]

  9. [...] portfolio reorganisation, but who knows how safe it is? I’ve posted before wondering about what happens if yahoo pipes dies?, and thanks to Greg Gaughan there’s now an exporter and partial runner for pipes using [...]


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