This weekend’s tool-to-play-with is Yahoo! Pipes. Chances are you’ve heard of Yahoo! Pipes (it’s been around for over a year and I’ve blogged about it before) but if you’ve not played with it yet, now is the time to have a go.
Pipes is essentially a mashup tool, particularly useful for doing things with RSS feeds. And at its basic levels it doesn’t require any knowledge of programming language.
Here’s some examples of things I’ve done with it:
- Aggregated a number of RSS feeds into one
- Translated RSS feeds from other languages into English
- Filtered an RSS feed so that only entries with links come through (a custom search)
They were pretty easy, to be honest. More impressive are:
- Robin Hamman’s “UGC Finder” that aggregates and filters “the results of keyword searches for tagged content and conversations in social networks and media sharing sites“
- Joanna Geary’s Pipe of West Midlands news from The Birmingham Post
- The Open University Pipe that converts Twitter tweets into audio.
- Various pipes that use mapping
One of the great features of Pipes is that you can ‘clone’ any other pipe. So if I like the look of Hamman’s UGC finder, I can clone it and tweak it to my own requirements, or add features on top. Hamman can see that and clone my improvements back.
It’s also searchable. See this search for ‘Birmingham’ to see some of the possibilities for local newsgathering and publishing.
A thorough explanation has been on my to-do list for far too long and now I’m looking for a virtual support group. So let me know: have you used Pipes? Do you know of other journalistic examples?
Or have a play and let me know how it goes.