Last Week in Pipes

yahoo both A few weeks ago I spent a day in the exhibit hall at the ETech conference giving demos of Pipes in the Yahoo booth. I was thrilled to see all the interest in and buzz around Pipes. There was a lot of interest from folks who wanted to dig deeper into how Pipes are built and what sorts of things can be done.

In the next few weeks (minus some conference travel), I'm going to try to make some headway on that here. But in the mean time, here some Pipes related items I ran across last week. Each one gives you a taste of how Pipes can be used.

In Mashing my own personal Blogosphere, James Dellow writes about his use of Pipes, Technorati, and Feedburner to track is own personal "cosmos"

Well, in the end I turned to Yahoo! Pipes for help and I'm pleased to announce the release of my first useful published Yahoo! Pipe - its called My Cosmos Feed. The result is a mashup using Technorati, Yahoo! Pipes and Feedburner.

What it does is this: Input the URL for a blog into My Cosmos Feed and it generates an RSS feed that includes the most recent 3 posts from the other blogs that link to that blog, plus all the other blogs that link to the blogs linking to the original blog! To see how this works in practice you can check out, via Feedburner, the My Cosmos Feed for the ChiefTech blog.

Also, be sure to see his follow-up posting: Reflections on mashing my Blogosphere.

Next up we have a random comic generator as described in laying pipes

Last week, I discovered Pipes, a Yahoo feedmashup tool which appears to do all that with a tubular GUI?no programming or API knowledge required. Only a small amount of rule- and logic-following.

After some tinkering, I managed a four panel strip (RSS version) which takes the feed from the Newsarama Blog (hi, guys!), applies a Content Analysis module, and selects Flickr photos and captions based on the results. The service can be a little buggy, but people seem to be navigating well enough.

And then there's Stephen O'Grady's description of how he used Pipes to solve a problem with the redesign of the RedMonk.com home page.

Well, make it work I did. To see it in action, go hit redmonk.com. The better news was that it literally took not more than 10 minutes to appropriately filter all three of our feeds. As you can see from the Pipe - or the inline picture - the setup is dead simple. Pipes reads in my tecosystems feed from FeedBurner (Sources: Fetch Feed), looks for items that have ?inks?in the title item, filters them (Operators: Filter), and delivers me a neatly stripped RSS feed. After repointing the parser on redmonk.com from FeedBurner to our newly created Pipes feeds, redmonk.com is now delivering a homepage free of del.icio.us links, while the individual blogs continue unaffected. Beautiful.

The point to emphasize here, as far as I? concerned, is the efficiency. Fixing this via the original approach was far from an arduous task, but it would still have taken me probably an hour or two (remember, I? not the sharpest tack in the box) to figure out what? being done where and test the filtering. With Pipes, it took less than 10 and I was done; apply the filter, look at the output, cut over the feeds.

What will those analysts come up with next?

This post is already longer than I expected, so I'll hold off on posting my personal favorite pipe until tomorrow.

If you've built a cool pipe we ought to show off, drop me a line.

Jeremy Zawodny
Yahoo! Developer Network