Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Yes I’m alive and Ready with a Hack and I’m announcing my feed Mashup with Twitter using Yahoo Pipes

UPDATE: A slightly modified version of the same is published here
This blog comes to life again (Oh Big day, big day), but  then I have to wake up. At least for about 9 poor souls who have subscribed to Memoirs of Tomorrow. Wait a minute, you were 12 yesterday. Don’t give up on me. Will ya? please…...
Any ways, this is an important announcement, from now on the readers via feeds to this blog would be not only getting the blog posts in their feed readers but also my tweets. I so much want you know that I am alive, kicking and still untangling the world wide web. Another rationale behind including tweets in the feed is that I am determined to post only what adds value to me and hopefully to the readers. There is no point in duplicating around the web. And then there is so much out there that is just worth sharing in less than 140 words!!

This post is a productivity hack, and trust me this is worth sharing. I used Yahoo Pipes (this in fact is a big day, do you see me dancing like a funky chicken?). I will beautify my twitter feed with pipes.

Twitter Feed is so ugly

What you see above is the actual twitter feed as seen in a feed reader. It would have been nice if the title was different from the actual post. C’mon, lets log into Yahoo pipes and straightaway lead to the pipes dashboard and drag the fetch feed module.

Twitter feed in Yahoo Pipes

As you see, I have already pasted my Twitter feed in it. Now comes the tricky and the last step. This uses Regex operator in pipes. Regex is an acronym for “Regular Expression”. I don’t know why we call these regular expression, this is the most irregular thing I have seen in my life. But is good fun. Join the feed module to Regex operator.

Before we elaborate, let me first clarify about what we are going to achieve through this. As you see in the first image, both the title and content of the feed is same, which is not only confusing but looks ugly too. Secondly, I want to remove my nick from the description. Thirdly, as I usually point to some link via tinyurl, I want this link to behave like a link and not just text [reader should not have to paste this in the browser, just click and go]
Ok….from one layman to another, we learn one thing at a time, but before everything, just expand whatever you see in the debugger [see image below]

yahoo pipes debugger

As we have already linked the feed module to the regex operator, we would now try to achieve the things mentioned above.

Yahoo Regex Module

Under rules choose item.title, in the “replace” box type everything inside the curly braces {^.*$} and in the box next to “with” type whatever you like. This would replace the nickname from the title.

Add another rule, choose item.description, type everything inside the curly braces { [^:]+: } in the box next to “replace” This would completely remove the nickname from the text

Under item.description in the “replace” box paste { (http://\S*) } and in the box next to “with” paste
{ <a href="$1">$1</a> } This is the third rule that will find any hyperlink and ensure that it behaves like one in the feed reader.
Viola, this is it.
But most importantly, the fourth rule don’t ask me anything about the regex module, I don’t know what is what. Uncle Google helped me.

This is how the feed will look in any feed reader

Modified Twitter feed

I simply joined my blog feed to this using the union module. Have fun!

UPDATE: A slightly modified version of the same is published here

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