Wednesday, 7 February 2007
Niall gives the geeks-eye view, and to be clear, this is not going to be the next great consumer Web site; your grandmother is not going to go out and build pipes.
However, I do think it’s going to be a big wake-up call for the “Enterprise” software industry.
This tool does more to deliver on their promises of non-programmers slicing and dicing data and wiring together workflows than the big software vendors have in the past five years, and it does it using the actual Web, not the lip-service Web that’s in Web Services.
To my eye, the difference — and the power — in Pipes is that the data model isn’t an XML Infoset, it’s an Atom or RSS feed (usually; most of the modules push you in this direction). That gives you more structure and semantics to grab onto and use in the modules, building more value into standard components, rather than having to go and re-invent the wheel for each application, because they all have different formats.
This is critical; using standard rather than application-specific formats gives you a lot of leverage, and is the missing part of many “RESTful” interfaces IME.
URIs are first-class types in the Pipes world as well; they identify things in the system because the data that Pipes works with is on the Web; it has to be.
I’m really excited by the potential here; there’s a lot of work to do, but it is a much more productive, Web friendly tool than anything I’ve seen come out of the big vendors for a long time.