Yahoo! Pipes: More scripting without code

04Nov08

In my previous post I mentioned a cool little tool called Yahoo! Pipes, but didn’t really explain what it was. Pipes is a tool much like Automator in that it lets you create workflows to deal with data instead of writing code.

It’s not that I don’t like writing code, but sometimes it’s a lot easier to get things done when Yahoo! takes care of the hosting of your script and provides output options like RSS, ATOM and KML (for mapping).

It’s not always the best way to go — to be honest, I don’t like Yahoo!’s geocoder — but in a pinch, Pipes can be a life-saver. Hell, even if you have the time to write a script it might be worthwhile to see what you can get done with a little drag-and-drop magic.

Webmonkey provides a really great overview of how to get started with Pipes, guiding you through filtering, sorting and merging various RSS feeds. If you work through their tutorial and play with it a bit, you should have a pretty decent idea of the power Yahoo! is giving you.

I actually use it to get a combined RSS feed for all of the Alligator’s individual sections. With the click of a button, I can get that outputted as JSON, PHP and even an iGoogle gadget! Pretty nifty, right?

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