Courant Institute New York University FAS CAS GSAS

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Pipify your life

Thursday, November 5, 2009 - 9:34am

Recently I discovered Yahoo! Pipes and I'm loving it. In case you haven't heard of it, Pipes is a construction kit for mashing up and publishing data. It gives you a funky GUI with different sources and operations becoming nodes in a network of flowing data. The final output is an XML feed, and Yahoo even provides tools called "Badges" to present that on web pages or otherwise process with JavaScript.

The "office hours" block on this site is generated by a Yahoo Pipe. I was able to feed it the URLs of the Google Calendars I keep for my courses, search for all the events denoting my office hours, format the date in a nice human-readable way, and produce an RSS feed which can be processed by modern CMSs such as Drupal. Add to this that the Google Calendars are synced with my desktop calendar program (Apple's iCal), and I am able to update these times without even opening a browser.

Another pipe I made pulled syndicated data from lots of sites that I contribute to. This blog, my slideshare account, my twitter feed, etc. I can munge the feeds a bit, so for instance the title of a new tweet gets "new tweet" prepended to it, and @handles and #tags get linkified. Merge all those munged feeds together and you have a custom feed of online activity. Facebook allows you to syndicate one feed in your Notes, so now I can stream everything into that.

Sounds great, you say, how do I do it? Future article in the works.

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