Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Yahoo pipes, a sleeping gigant

When we were at Geek meet, a local developer conference here in Stockholm, Chris Heilmann from Yahoo showed us a yahoo project named Yahoo Pipes. And it blew me away, what this thing does is, it lets you tweek, filter, mangle and do the coolest stuf to web sites and feeds you other whise would need to hand code.

For example in 5 minutes after first watching the intro videos I managed to create a custom filtered rss feed from one of the swedish real estate publishers to show me the houses that where in a certain area.
Imagine the power of this, if I could just drag and drop my way to a custom feed from scratch in just 5 minutes, imagine the things we could do if we just spent a little more time and effort.

I found a pipe that does another custom feed from a buy and sell site called Blocket. this site does not supply an rss, so what the guy does is that he creates a custom url to get the search results he needs, then he uses pipes regexp controls (and some others) to parse the generated HTML table and then truncates and filters the result to match his liking, and THEN steps into each ad and gets the information from that. The end result is a neat rss that any one can consume. Exelent!
Then if you want you could publish the results as JSON to a web service and tweek the results even further.

Try it out, it's so darn simple that even a project manager could do it and it's really powerfull.