Social plumbing with pipes

Written on November 15, 2007 – 2:17 am | by Tim Nash |

I don’t know about you but I often find myself wanting to do more with social media sites, I want to know when posts on my sites are submitted, what my friends are up to, who’s going hot, who I should be begging to submit my posts because their submissions always go hot. Like many I’m fascinated with social media and the mechanisms behind them.

RSS – Backend of the social web

rss really simple syndication

Most people will be familiar with RSS (really simple syndication) and the concept of feed Readers, sites like Digg, Stumbleupon and Pligg sites like Sphinn all have RSS feeds for their up and coming and Hot posts. Many also offer additional feeds with perhaps Digg going the furthest by even offering an RSS version of search results. RSS provides a simple clutter free version of the site making it much easier to manipulate and combine several feeds providing a single source for you social fix.

Yahoo Pipes

Yahoo Pipes
Yahoo provides just the tool for the manipulation of feeds in the form of Yahoo pipes, there are others including tools from Microsoft and a much more advanced Mashup tool by Google. However Pipes is probably the best known and most used. Rather then provide step by step instructions on how to use Pipes I have found a selection of good tutorials to get you started.
Remember to view sample pipes, rather then just the results you will need a Yahoo ID and be logged in

Copying a pipe

Copy pipe
If you want to play with any of the example pipes then simply visit the pipes home page, and click the clone button this will create a copy in your account, just remember to hit save when you are finished.

Exporting Pipes

Once you have your pipe sorted you will want to import it to your favourite application, on the published pipes page you will find several ways to get your data, via email, phone or as we will more likely want by RSS.
Finding the RSS export
To get the RSS simply choose the more options, then the RSS option, copy the URL and your there.

Pipes for Socialites

With the basics of Pipes sorted lets jump into a useful pipe. This simple pipe which is a modified and simplified version of one of Engtechs provides a list of submissions on Digg for a given site. With it you will not have to worry if your site is on Digg without your knowledge.
Example Digg Pipe
RSS|Source Code
As you can see the pipe has just 5 components, though to be fair only two of them are of any note, the source which is the Digg search RSS feed and the Regex, of all the things that people are afraid of Regular expressions has to be high on the list, but in reality they are nothing to be scared of.

This example only works with Digg but to modify it for use with Reddit is not hard or any site which offers RSS version of their search which sadly most Pligg sites do not.

Demo Pipes for socialites

seeing your Digg submit is not the only thing you can do people have been coming up with hundreds of uses:

Keep in touch with friends, submits for example here is a pipe that shows submits on Sphinn by the Collective thoughts team. Do you have a pipe let me know so I can add it to the list.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
  1. 8 Responses to “Social plumbing with pipes”

  2. By Meg on Nov 15, 2007 | Reply

    Hi Tim

    Many thanks for the guide. I had a play with pipes a few weeks ago when I wanted to aggregate feeds from a range of bloggers. I managed to do it ok, and subscribe to it, but fell down when I tried to widgetize the feed (via a Spring Widget). I guess my aim was to create something like my own “blogrush” type of widget, but for feeds of my choice.

    Should this be possible, do you think?

  3. By Tim Nash on Nov 16, 2007 | Reply

    Hi Meg, I decided to sleep before answering the answer is yes you can 😀 I have created a demo for you of the collective thoughts team.

    So here you go: View Source | RSS Feed

    I also created a quick widget from Spring Widget, so here is the collective thoughts team combo widget 😀 just for you, you can of course now just clone that pipe and obviously change the URLs to one you want.

  4. By Joy on Nov 16, 2007 | Reply

    Thanks a lot for posting this’s very informative and helpful.

  5. By Meg on Nov 16, 2007 | Reply

    Thanks Tim

    I decided to sleep before tackling this, but will have a look. Appreciate your response 🙂

  6. By Matt Ellsworth on Nov 17, 2007 | Reply

    I have been using yahoo pipes since they opened it up. We put together a mashup of several article feeds from our site – and popped it into feedburner.

  7. By Meg on Nov 18, 2007 | Reply

    Hi Tim

    Sorry to bug you. I’m still falling down on the spring widget. In your example, what was the URL you put in for the feed? Was it the pipe URL “”?
    No matter what I do, the Spring Widget tells me my feed isn’t available 🙁

  8. By Tim Nash on Nov 18, 2007 | Reply

    Sorry Meg I should have explained further, I have added a section to the main article on getting the RSS feed from the output of the pipe.
    RSS Find
    On the Pipe page you should see a more options drop down list, click on that and then the RSS option, which will lead to your RSS feed its this URL you need to use in your widget 😀

  9. By Sueblimely on Nov 18, 2007 | Reply

    Wonderful, I have been looking for something that will achieve this simply. Only simple because you have done all the more complicated work by creating the pipe though. Cloning and editing is as far as I have managed in Pipes.

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