Building a Yahoo Pipe

Today is a good day; I have successfully built a working Yahoo Pipe.
It’s not especially pretty but it is, I think, quite clever; it filters all the latest news, photos and quality blog posts from the world of Fashion for the Girls Behaving Stylishly team to place on their blog as a widget, and to help them spot trends quickly without having to trawl the web.
Building a pipe is nowhere near as complicated as it looks and as an information-sharing tool for journalists it has myriad possibilities.

The reason I finally got around to building a pipe was that I spent a day on a training course run by Paul Bradshaw, whose post on building Yahoo Pipes mashups is here.
Paul walked the class through every step of building a pipe and successfully de-mystified the whole process to such an extent that, in addition to the Liverpool FC pipe I created in class, I logged at home and created the fashion one.

How I did it:
1. Registered with Yahoo Pipes (as with Flickr, you need a Yahoo id to use it) and clicked ‘Create a Pipe on the homepage

2. Dragged a ‘Fetch Feed’ onto the graph area. It then looked like this:

3. Ran advanced searches through Google news for ‘fashion’, ‘style’ and ‘models’, narrowing the search parameters by using the search field filters

4. Once I was happy with my Google news results I right-clicked the RSS feed and scrolled to the ‘Copy Link Location’:

5. Returning to my pipe, I right clicked in the url space of the Fetch Feed box and pasted my Google News RSS link

6. Next step: Find some fashionista-type blogs. I went to Technorati.com and searched for ‘fashion’. It found me some fashion blogs but also threw up related tags including one for ‘fashion experts’ which seemed promising; clicking that link took me to host of blogs by fashion experts. I right-clicked on Subscribe and copied the url to the Pipe feed as before.
Then I added a Flickr feed from the Pipes menu and a ‘Union’ from the ‘Operators’ section on the left, to link all my pipes into one. Finally, I took a ‘Filter’ and a ‘Unique’ from ‘Operators’ to screen out sweary and/or duplicate posts, and added a ‘truncate’ option to the fashion pipe so I only get the latest updates.

The next step is to make a widget for the pipe using Widgetbox.com (I’m thinking leopard print for the background).
Of course, the easiest thing is to share the knowledge so the rest of the team can build their own Yahoo Pipe and put it a Reader to easily follow breaking news and events in the areas they cover.
So, Yahoo Pipes may look forbidding but it’s definitely worth having exploring; it is much, much easier than it looks.

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About Alison Gow

I'm a journalist, particularly interested in story-telling, networks and digital innovation.
This entry was posted in how-to, online tools. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Building a Yahoo Pipe

  1. Samantha Parker says:

    This looks like a good idea might try one to go with the wedding blog when I get back from hols. Can I call on you if I get lost? Fingers crossed should managed it with your guide πŸ™‚

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  2. Alison Gow says:

    Hi Sam, that’s a great idea – you could build a pipe to track wedding related blogs, news posts, forums etc and have them display on your blog. Good luck and do let me know if you hit a problem following the guide – I’ll update it from your feedback.

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  3. noodlepie says:

    Good to hear you enjoyed Paul’s course and that Yahoo Pipes works for you. I teach a similar course to Paul, also through journalism.co.uk and I was wondering about whether to introduce Pipes to the course – after reading this, I think I will πŸ™‚One thing though. I’ve built some fairly complicated pipes built to sift a lot of different feeds and I’m finding it to be unreliable. Sometimes it can’t even run.I’m not sure why this should happen, but maybe it is better to stick to fairly uncomplicated feeds.It seems I’m not alone in having this problem:http://blog.taragana.com/index.php/archive/yahoo-pipes-review/

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  4. Alison Gow says:

    Happily, my pipe is very simple! But thanks for the heads up on that; I wasn’t aware that they could get sticky πŸ™‚

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