Yahoo Pipes – an “expert” weighs in and misses the point

UPDATE: Apparently I now have someone’s attention. Let me take a moment to address “experts” of all kinds who would seek to maintain or attain their status… and at the same time, not be particularly “helpful.” If there is a lesson here, let it be this:

I don’t call myself an “expert” in many fields… but I am lucky enough to have decades of experience in several. I do however learn quickly and am familiar with teh interwebz, online forums, chat rooms,  blogs, trolls, hackers, and all sorts of people who apparently make a living being “social media experts”, “SEO experts” and the like. I’ll say this once: I won’t be “fake friending” you in hopes of getting traffic and/or business. I don’t need your traffic, and I’d rather not go on about an unfortunate incident or misunderstanding. If you missed the boat, too bad… maybe you’ll get another chance to be helpful.

If it turns out your expertise isn’t needed during the 24 hours I learn about Yahoo Pipes, or whatever other subject, don’t take it personally. If you’d like to be a part of the Soft Machine experiment, drop me an introductory comment or engage with me elsewhere. Don’t expect me to entertain you in the commentary, or let you air your grievances, especially if you flubbed your chance to actually be helpful.

The Yahoo Pipes “expert” Hapdaniel (y!) (twitter) tells me I’ve fixed nothing, and should have read his tweet.

Also, I’m apparently a terrible person for having a huge master OPML that I want to efficiently process. Too bad he’s too busy being an “expert” to notice that I added the ability to “filter on folder name” while scanning the OPML!

My feedback to the nice people at Yahoo:

I tried to find suitable pipes, but in the end I had to write them myself. In addition, the person who responded on the message board was most unhelpful and nasty, and obviously thinks it’s a terrible thing to have a large OPML. And, he doesn’t understand that one wants to filter while scanning the OPML – that’s a key to having a huge master OPML that you can still use for multiple things efficiently.

I doubt I’ll participate here much going forward. I like Pipes though, and blogged about it, and deployed them on my site…

Thanks… and nice job on the Pipes machinery itself.

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Yahoo Pipes – OPML items

UPDATE: added optional filter on “folder name” for a more selective list of items.

Here is my published OPML items pipe. Here is the Y! message board thread.

This is the first step in solving what I consider to be the distressing state of OPML support in Yahoo Pipes. A very simple fix, it consists of setting up a pipe that parses an OPML file (such as you find when “exporting” subscriptions from Google reader), and outputs the subscription items. I take care to handle both “flat” and “structured” OPML files. Note, I recognize the “flat” items by filtering on “item.type” having “rss” or “atom.”

First, the flat items

First, the flat items

Then, the children

Then, the children

the coup-de-grace

the coup-de-grace

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Yahoo Pipes OPML FAIL (Google Reader)

Go to My Yahoo Pipes if you want to verify or play along: “BROKEN Fetch OPML -do aggregate …”

I went to add a simple feature on this site: a list of entries from blogs I like. Also known as a widget showing a magic RSS feed.

Enter Yahoo Pipes. Should be simple enough, except I discovered that almost every OPML parser in use is broken with regard to google reader. I have many many subscriptions, so I create a number of folders for organization. Because I use google reader as my “master” feed subscription list, I think it’s important to get these basic tools right.

I’m going to solve this step by step,  starting with a better  method for parsing the xml, to handle “nested” OPML a la google reader. Folders are empty parent items with a no URL or “type=rss”, just “text”, “title”, and children.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<opml version="1.0">
  <outline title="arts" text="arts">
   <outline text="Civic Center" title="Civic Center" type="rss" xmlUrl= ... 

So, to summarize: FetchData & Yahoo Pipes Help are deficient, and all the OPML aggregation examples I’ve tested are broken. They use FetchData to make an item list out of body.outline, so you get a list of “folders”, instead of the actual feeds.


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