Tuesday, June 28, 2005

On Pipes and Combining Commands

"How's the pipe concept coming?" Erik Kastner asked me today. Pipes, in the Unix (and DOS) command-line world, are a means of combining commands together. For example, "find . | xargs grep foo". In YubNub this might take the form of "google jon udell | to_rss _ xargs | text_to_speech".

Now pipes (those "|" symbols) may not be the best way for YubNub to combine commands. Alex Ksikes made this point to me in a recent email. (Alex, by the way, is chock full of intriguing, original ideas for the "web OS"). One suggestion, given to me by Sean O'Hagan, is to enclose subcommands in ${...}. For example: http://amazon.com?keyword=${xpath /bookstore/book http://www.allconsuming.net}

(Somebody please make an xpath command!)

So I'm not yet sure what is the best way to implement combining commands. It may be pipes; it may be another technique. Whatever we do, as I told Erik Kastner, it's gotta be easy to implement and intuitive to use. (And hopefully not take up too many CPU cycles!)

Suggestions welcome!

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem is that most YubNub commands send you to a web page, which has much more than just the information you want.

6/29/2005 8:17 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Anonymous - Yeah, when piping commands around we probably want just a line or two. Perhaps an xpath or screenscrape command would be useful here?

6/29/2005 8:32 PM  

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