Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Internet: Yahoo Pipes and Facebook.

I really started blogging because I posted a few Notes on Facebook and enjoyed it so much I started a real blog. For a while I was importing this blog into Facebook, but since many of my posts just wouldn't make sense being in Facebook, I turned off that feature. Basically, it was an all or none deal. Now I am turning it back on!

The reason is, I now will be able to pick which posts make it into Facebook. I am going to be able to do this because of an awesome tool provided by Yahoo! called Yahoo Pipes.

Basically, Yahoo! Pipes is a tool that lest you do increadibly complex (or simple) operations to RSS feeds and other content and make a new RSS feed of whatever you like. In my case I made the A Jared Blog - Facebook RSS feed. My actual pipe is publish and the logic of it is freely available to copy.

The interface for Yahoo! Pipes is graphical, making it very easy to use. Basically, you drag the building blocks into the working area, connect thing using a series of tubes, I mean pipes, and then out comes an RSS feed. I simply used three blocks. The first imports the RSS feed from my blog, the second only allows posts with the tag Facebook to continue along the pipe, and the last is the output of the pipe into a new RSS feed. Obviously, my use of this software is a very simple application, but the result would be very complex logic is not difficult to achieve.

One of the best things about Yahoo! Pipes is its ability to combine different RSS feeds, then search them and restrict them down to a more usable and informative feed. Did I fail to mention yet that this service is free! I have actually played with combining feeds together before and came up with some interesting results.

So, from now on, when I think it is appropriate, I will have entries (such as this one) from my blog imported into Facebook. I don't know why I did not think of this earlier, but it gives me an excuse to talk about Yahoo! Pipes, which is definitely an awesome tool! Since this does add another layer of complexity of getting the post from Blogger then to Yahoo! and then to Facebook, it might take a while for the post to get to Facebook. However, I don't expect to have any problems.

UPDATE: I already found a limitation. Basically, the logic of limiting the feed works if the post only has one tag (in this case Facebook). I'll try to find a workaround, but I might not be able to. The good news is, that whenever I change my pipe, the RSS feed automatically adapts.

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