Yahoo YQL gets create, delete functions

Yahoo just added insert, update and delete capability to YQL, its SQL-like query language for data on the Web.

This will let YQL be used in applications that do things like create Twitter tweets or update social media status information -- pretty much anything you can do now via a Web-based form, according to Yahoo's Jonathan Trevor. That's along with the earlier capability of selecting and displaying data.

YQL uses a format similar to querying a conventional relational database, but to interact with data on the Web. For example, you could use a command such as

select * from rss where url='http://www.computerworld.com/spring/feed/topic/17/Security' and (title like '%attack%' or title like '%virus%')

to keep track of all stories in Computerworld's Security RSS feed with "attack" or "virus" in the headline.

Developers can test their statements in the YQL console, and then display resulting information on their own Web pages.

From what I could see from the presentation and a bit of dabbling this afternoon, YQL is a slick piece of middleware in the cloud. The main platform drawback: Trevor said Yahoo has no plans to support additional scripting languages beyond JavaScript, so if you don't want to add (more) JavaScript to a Web site, this might not be an attractive option.

UPDATE: Seems I didn't understand that part of the presentation correctly (sorry, should have waited to blog about this until not only playing around with half of it [the command structure -- the fun part for me :) ] but all of it [the data display part as well]).

As Trevor points out in a comment below,the JavaScript portion is on Yahoo's server side; those of us writing applications using YQL can write in any language (PHP, etc.) to access the data.

YQL is free, and Yahoo has no plans to turn it into a fee-based service, at least up to a 100,000-calls-per-day limit (currently, users can contact Yahoo if they need additional capacity, although this doesn't look designed for high-volume sites). YQL commands also work with Yahoo's free Pipes service for creating and parsing custom RSS feeds.

Trevor, who works in Yahoo's platform group, spoke at a webcast hosted by O'Reilly Media.

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