I ran into a situation recently that I thought I’d share. I use Google Reader to manage the feeds that I read regularly. PHPDeveloper.org is among my favorite news syndication web sites. However, some of its posts, in particular those dealing with job posts or additions to CakePHP’s Bakery, aren’t interesting to me.
Eventually, I came to the conclusion that I could wrap the feed in a Yahoo! Pipe in order to filter out the uninteresting information. (I know, the irony of using Google and Yahoo products together might seem anything from ironic to downright unholy to some.)
Unfortunately, doing so meant that I had to remove the original PHPDeveloper.org feed from Google Reader and add the new pipe-wrapped feed in its place. Because (as best I can tell) certain things are tracked per feed rather than per URL (old items) or per item (read statuses), this meant losing all information specific to the old feed.
Granted, I only had to do this once, but I wish it had occurred to me earlier. Google Reader may have search capability (which took forever to be included), but that’s not the same as being able to have content filtering automatically handled for me whenever I view the contents of a feed.
So my line of thought continued. It would be nice if there was an easy way to maintain the user experience of adding feeds through my preferred browser, Mozilla Firefox, but to have new feeds be automatically wrapped in a Yahoo! Pipe “behind the scenes.” This would allow me to go back and manipulate feed content later if I saw a repeating pattern in specific content that didn’t interest me.
Another unfortunate trait of this situation is that Yahoo! Pipes doesn’t currently offer a web service API, or it might make implementing my idea significantly easier. While the AJAX interface exposes server interaction logic, it’s obfuscated to the point where it makes reverse engineering attempts infeasible. It’s unfortunate, because I think a marriage of the features of each of these services would make the result all the more useful for their users.