Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Yahoo! Pipes rocks without Flash or Silverlight

Roy Osherove is talking lots about Yahoo! Pipes and they look very interesting – here is a screenshot of one I was in the middle of creating (you can't see it, but my mouse pointer was a hand-shape holding the bottom end of that curved pipe):

The idea behind it is an interesting one, bringing Unix command line pipes (|) to a web-based GUI:
“Pipes is a powerful composition tool to aggregate, manipulate, and mashup content from around the web.

Like Unix pipes, simple commands can be combined together to create output that meets your needs:
  • combine many feeds into one, then sort, filter and translate it.
  • geocode your favorite feeds and browse the items on an interactive map.
  • power widgets/badges on your web site.
  • grab the output of any Pipes as RSS, JSON, KML, and other formats.”
Here are some more screenshots, firstly me choosing to add a sort-by clause to the results:

Lastly the final results of the pipe, showing a visual representation of the shape, plus the details of what was actually used, and the results in the main panel:

I've published this pipe and given it a nice name so you can see the results yourself.

This is a great example of using a dynamic HTML interface to do something useful on the web. Let me repeat that a different way - there is no Flash/Silverlight used here!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Visual Studio 2008 and .NET 3.5 released!

Microsoft have given us developers an early Christmas present by releasing Visual Studio 2008 and .NET Framework v3.5 today! See Scott Guthrie's post about the release for full details.

The bits I'm waiting for the most are the VB.NET improvements, particularly Lambda Expressions which might give us the ability to use some of the niftier BDD test framework's features in VB rather than needing to write executable specs in C#. The new web designer interface and CSS/JavaScript improvements will be welcome ones too. Then there are other features that look nice, but I am less excited about, LINQ being foremost of those.

The piece I am most eagerly awaiting is not yet released, that is the ASP.NET MVC framework, which will give us .NET developers the same sort of simple and clean structure Ruby on Rails developers have been enjoying.