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Pipeline tool

Modify data, text, and other files quickly using easy syntax with this command-line tool.

Pipelining is an old concept in computing that basically involves directing the output of one process directly into another along a linear "pipeline," with each step processing the data in some way. It has many uses, such as serving as the basis for TenFityTwo's Pipelines, a free utility that lets you modify text or data files in numerous ways, in whole or just specific parts. You can quickly and easily make changes to columns, word, and field ranges; translate words and phrases; insert or remove lines of data; and more. Programmers can use it to save time over writing scripts to perform specific tasks. Pipelines treats lines of data as "records," performs actions in "stages" and only reads and writes the data on input and output, so it uses very little memory.

Pipelines operates from the command prompt, a batch file, a powershell script, or from a Pipelines file (PPL). It's actually built around a surprisingly simple concept: each "stage" represents something you want to do, but written in a basic English syntax using commands like "translate" and "duplicate." There's a list of stages and preprocess functions on the Pipelines Web site and in the copious documentation and examples provided with the program, among them Excel, text, INI, XML, and log files; even excerpts from George Orwell's "1984." After some practice, we created a pipeline for a simple text file from our archives, based on examples in the documentation. We constructed the command filename.txt | literal 'bicycle' | translate italic | duplicate >>filename.txt," which means read the specified text file, translate the word "bicycle" into italics, duplicate it, and appended it to the specified target file, which we're calling "filename" for generic purposes. Stringing stages together in a pipeline lets you launch extremely specific processes limited only by your ability to think them up and write them down. You can save and edit pipelines in a text editor and run them as needed, too.

Obviously, Pipelines isn't for most Windows users, though it's not beyond the capabilities of sophisticated users who lack a programming background. And old-school skills apply; if you learned DOS, you can probably handle Pipelines.

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