How to create basic mashups with Yahoo! Pipes

I’ve blogged previously about what Yahoo! Pipes can do. The following describes some of the basic mashups you can create with Yahoo! Pipes – please add your own tips in the comments.

Signing up

First you’ll need to go to pipes.yahoo.com and register with the page. If you already have a Yahoo! or Flickr account you may be able to use that.

Aggregating feeds into one

  1. Log on to Yahoo! Pipes and click on Create Pipe. You should be presented with a ‘graph’-style page.
  2. On the left column are a number of buttons – called modules. These are arranged within different categories, the first category being Sources. In the Sources category should be a module called Fetch Feed. Click and drag this onto the graphed area.
  3. You will need to copy the URL of the RSS feed you want to fetch and paste it into the Fetch Feed module input box.
  4. To add extra feeds click on the plus (+) icon next to URL and further input boxes will appear. Paste the extra feeds into each new box.
  5. Finally, you need to connect the Fetch Feed module to the Pipe Output. To do this click on the circle at the bottom of the Fetch Feed module and drag it to the circle at the top of Pipe Output. You should now see a pipe appear connecting the two.
  6. Click on Pipe Output to see the results at the bottom of the screen.
  7. That’s it. Click Save (top right), give the pipe a name, then click Run Pipe… at the top of the screen. Note: the results may be displayed as images – click List to see the text version.
  8. Along the top of the results you will see various options. Click on the RSS symbol to get the option to have the output of this pipe as a standalone RSS feed. You can also click Get as a Badge to get some HTML to put on your blog and display results more attractively.

Note: with more than one feed Pipes will ‘cluster’ them together by feed rather than by date. To order the results by date, use the Sort module under the Operators category, connect it to Fetch Feed, and sort by item.pubDate in descending order.

If you want to aggregate feeds after filtering, etc. you can use the Union module under Operators category.

Filtering feeds

  1. Follow steps 1-4 for Aggregating feeds, above.
  2. On the left column are a number of buttons – called modules. These are arranged within different categories. Expand the Operators category. There should be a module called Filter. Click and drag this onto the graphed area.
  3. You need to connect the Fetch Feed module to the Filter module. To do this click on the circle at the bottom of the Fetch Feed module and drag it to the circle at the top of Filter. You should now see a pipe appear connecting the two.
  4. Using the settings in the Filter module you can choose to filter the aggregated feed by blocking items (posts) with certain words, or only allowing items with certain words to come through.
  5. You will then need to choose from the drop-down menu which field (e.g. ‘title’ or ‘category’) you want to be the subject of the filter.
  6. Finally, you need to connect the Filter module to the Pipe Output. To do this click on the circle at the bottom of the Filter module and drag it to the circle at the top of Pipe Output. You should now see a pipe appear connecting the two.
  7. Follow steps 6-8 for Aggregating feeds, above to finish.

Note: you can use the Unique module instead to filter out multiple versions of the same post (e.g. when you’re using feeds from search results on different engines)

Translating feeds

The translation tool in Pipes (BabelFish) is pretty clumsy, and you couldn’t rely on it to produce a clear and understandable feed for readers – but it may be useful to highlight leads in other countries that you otherwise wouldn’t see, and which you can then follow up.

  1. Follow steps 1-4 for Aggregating feeds, above.
  2. On the left column are a number of buttons – called modules. These are arranged within different categories. Expand the Deprecated category. There should be a module called BabelFish. Click and drag this onto the graphed area.
  3. You need to connect the Fetch Feed module to the BabelFish module. To do this click on the circle at the bottom of the Fetch Feed module and drag it to the circle at the top of BabelFish. You should now see a pipe appear connecting the two.
  4. Using the settings in the BabelFish module you can choose to translate the feed from one language to another.
  5. Finally, you need to connect the BabelFish module to the Pipe Output. To do this click on the circle at the bottom of the BabelFish module and drag it to the circle at the top of Pipe Output. You should now see a pipe appear connecting the two.
  6. Follow steps 6-8 for Aggregating feeds, above to finish.

Tips and tools

  • If the website you want to use doesn’t have an RSS feed you may be able to create one using a service like Page 2 RSS (http://page2rss.com/).
  • Pipes has a specific module to help you pull images from Flickr (under Sources).
  • The Feed Auto-Discovery module allows you to just input the URL of the website, not the RSS feed itself, and will automatically find feeds. This may pull in comment and other feeds, however.
  • You can always search everyone’s pipes to find something that does what you want to do – and clone it to adapt it accordingly.
  • Although Pipes allows you to create email alerts and widgets, Feedburner.com is even better at doing the same thing – and will tell you who has subscribed, etc.

If you liked this…

Webpages about Yahoo! Pipes I’ve bookmarked

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30 thoughts on “How to create basic mashups with Yahoo! Pipes

  1. Richard Kendall

    Thanks I’ve been looking for some Pipes tips after messing about with Feedburner. I’ve yet to try Page2rss yet, but they will all come in handy in future projects.

    Reply
  2. Londinium

    Very simple one, but something I only worked out recently – if you can’t find an RSS link on a page, look for a blue RSS symbol in you address bar in a Firefox browser, or an orange RSS symbol below the search bar in Internet Explorer. If it is there, clicking that will load up the page’s feed.

    It’s surprising how many web sites do generate feeds but don’t have a “subscribe to RSS” button or link on the page.

    On another Pipes issue, does anyone know how to get Pipes to output the source of the article (ie the name of the feed it came from)?

    Reply
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  10. קידום אתרים

    great post! and yes..
    i tried the babelfish and it’s not even close for outputing an understandable translation for english to france

    does anybody knows if it works well for any two given languages?

    Reply
  11. Used Engines

    Thanks for valuable article i was searching for that. It is very handy to use. I have used bubble fish tool for translating my website in to different language for my worldwide visitors but I didn’t use it for RSS feed I will defiantly use this for my RSS feed also.

    Reply
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  17. Best Shed Plans

    I’ve used pipes in the past without any trouble, but recently I have constant errors with pipes not being able to read my feeds. I have no idea why, I can read them in other ways. Any ideas? I just get a “caution symbol”.

    Reply
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