Pipelining the Web
I had another look at the W3C's XSLT service. Turns out you can send it parameters after all. The syntax seems a bit outdated, but it works fine. Now the original solution to the Nasa newsfeed seems silly. All that was really needed was a parameterized stylesheet and three URLS, one for each channel.
This way of composing Web services by blogging URL-lines feels like the spiritual descendent of the Unix pipeline. This is part of what motivates the REST discussion, I think. We're going to be hearing more and more about orchestration of services in the coming months and years. There will be many ways to do that. I hope that basic URL-line-plus-XLST will be a viable strategy. Maybe I'm just being nostalgic, but I don't think so. I have a hunch that pipelined XML processing will be important for all the reasons that pipelined text processing has been.