Yahoo Pipes for Social Networking

By samooresamoore (1251644904|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

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Yahoo Pipes is so intense and elaborate and confusing yet really cool. In this blog I'm going to attempt to make a blog of news related sites with information on each one of my main players, Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn. Hopefully as I go along this whole idea about Pipes and how it works will become a lot less intimidating.

Problem #1

Do I make just one pipe for all three, or do I make three separate pipes? To go about answering this question, I decided that I probably should just start making the pipe and see which direction it leads me in. In order to get a feed from a news search engine to enter into the source box, I had to first search for a specific item in the search engine. Therefore, I ended up searching for news articles about Facebook. This made me run into a second problem of having way too many results, which I discuss below. However, I just kept going and entered the specific feed on Facebook into my pipe. I decided that it may be easiest due to the fact that this is my first pipe and I should just go with wherever it takes me. I know for a fact, however, that feeds doing all three players at once, Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn, are possible through the filter functions and other things, but I will leave the discovery of those functions for another time.

Problem #2

Even after using my knowledge of search techniques learned in the class, the searches that I ended up with produced way too many results to actually look through them all. I'm not sure how this will affect the end output feed of the pipe, such as will I get 500 new results each day or will it automatically know that I've already seen the old ones and not show them again? I don't think that I can figure this out without trial and error, therefore I will leave it as is and modify it in a week or so if it overwhelms me with the number of new articles each day.

Problem #3

If the site does not have an RSS feed attached to it, what source do I use for the URL? For example, I used "Fetch Feed" as the source to input the URL of the RSS feeds for Google News and Yahoo News, but AltaVista News does not have RSS feeds for its searches. After reading the descriptions of each source and looking at examples, I realized that with my knowledge and inexperience with Pipes, using AltaVista News as part of my pipe may be too complicated for me to do.

My Sad-Looking Pipe

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Overall, I think that my first pipe creation taught me a lot, but I was not happy with my end pipe. Although I feel like I didn't do anything wrong so that the pipe wouldn't work, it will not be that helpful for my term project. I ended up only using two sources, Google News and Yahoo News, because they were the only ones that I found RSS feeds for. Perhaps I can use the other skills I learned about Page Monitors to somehow produce a feed for the other ones and then integrate it into that pipe. It is very scary how Yahoo Pipes required me to use a lot of the skills I've already learned in the class such as news searches, RSS feeds, search techniques and strategies, and others in order to make the pipe.

What Next?

Tutorials. Practice. Tutorials. Practice. I need to learn so much more about Yahoo Pipes to actually get the full benefit.
A shortcut that we learned in class that I would highly recommend is the Browse feature. You can clone other peoples pipes that they've already done the work making and then use or modify them to fit what you are trying to do. This is going to be my next step and hopefully will prove more successful than trying to make my own.

Unfortunately, Yahoo Pipes is still just as intimidating to me as it was before I tried using it.

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