Ivan’s private site

February 9, 2007

Yahoo! pipes and visualization…

Filed under: Work Related — Ivan Herman @ 15:43

There has been a whole series of blogs lately on a new system published by Yahoo!, called Yahoo! pipes. Tim O’Reilly called it a “milestone in the history of the Internet” (which I find a little bit overdriven, but that may be only me). The system gives the user a cute interface whereby users can connect in a dataflow manner filters for rss feeds, blogs, etc, and create a complex, personal integrator for, say, feeds.

Yes it is cute, but I wonder how it will be evolve. This type of user interface is indeed not new; its application for rss aggregation is. Dataflow based user interface were the “big thing” in the scientific visualization world in the 90’s; I remember household names like AVS for visualization or KHOROS for image processing.  The idea was very similar: one had more or less complex processing nodes (eg, for various steps in a visualization pipeline) and oen would then  combine these with pipes to build a complete visualization engine for a specific task.

What I do not know (it was quite some time ago when I left my former area of work in computer graphics) whether these interfaces have proven to be successful on a long run, or not. Apart from being cute, using these dataflow networks is not that always easy in practice. Time will tell for the yahoo! pipes…



  1. are comment restricted here?

    Comment by John Mennis — March 10, 2007 @ 1:24

  2. I too noticed the analogy between Yahoo! pipes and visualization applications of the AVS/ IRIS Explorer variety. IRIS Explorer is a commercial product and has used this kind of interface for many years. In my experience it is widely used and popular. Its a bit like Meccano (see http://www.girdersandgears.com/meccano-5.html) you need a rich set of building blocks at the right level of granularity that can be connected in a wide variety of ways to support a wide range of applications. Both AVS and IRIS Explorer allow users to add their own modules and thus they also serve as powerful development environments for trying out new visualization techniques.

    Comment by David Duce — March 27, 2007 @ 18:17

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