Back on the Pipe(s)

I really wish Yahoo! talked more about Pipes. I don’t know when I first started messing around with it, but it was probably shortly after Pipes was announced and showed up in one of my numerous RSS feeds. I couldn’t really figure out how I would use it. Then a year or so ago I came back again and created a custom feed for a faculty member and wondered why I wasn’t showing it to more people. It is really one of the coolest tools around for creating your own customized RSS feed. (I’m trying to put together a customized feed for Instructional Technology, if you have feed suggestions).

The number of pipes available and the range of functionality is astounding. You can create pipes that allow for user input or pipes that operate on CSV and other data files available on the Web. The funny thing is I don’t hear about Pipes by the year and it worries me that such an awesome tool may just disappear one day. Maybe I just am not moving in the circles where Pipes are common place, or maybe people just take them for granted. But I think I’d like to get more faculty playing with Pipes and thinking about creative ways they could be used in education. What about digital storytelling with Pipes? Bryan? Alan?

Edit: Based on the related posts it looks like I rediscover Pipes about once a year. I find that amusing and sad.


  1. I agree that Pipes is both useful and woefully not understood. myself included- I’ve done just a few basic things, mainly to clean up delicious tag feeds (I use it to combine tags from resources tagged related to the NMC’s multiple horizon projects, have it filter out tags to the report itself, and remove duplicates.

    Making them is rather technical, but for a techie, its an interesting way to string together your logic. I’m filing away your storytelling idea- you can use the flickr module to create a feed based on custom criteria, but you’d still have to embed something o create output. I fiddled with something to get 5 images based on user input tag and geolocation, but need to fiddle more with a way to use the output. The thing about pipes is it provides updated content as the source info changes (new photos tagged).

    Scratching my head but not really finding anything

    • Same here. I have messed around with things but had never really done user input. When I started playing with that I wondered if you could string together a sequence of pipes each allowing user input that could be used to create some sort of constantly updating story. I don’t know. I just know that Pipes is almost absent from the circles in which I float.