14 June 2009

Merging multiple blog feeds into Facebook Notes with Yahoo Pipes

I started a second blog, Vibogafi, for writing about media, and wanted to display updates from that and this blog using the Facebook Notes application. Notes only allows users to import one RSS feed, so I had to merge both my RSS feeds first.

One aggregation or mashup system that came to mind was Yahoo Pipes. If you have a Yahoo account, then you can create your personal pipes. I followed the video tutorial and got my pipe working the second time around. Some tips and minor gotchas:

  • When entering the Blogger feed URL in the Pipes Fetch Feed gadget, you cannot simply enter http://<myblog>.blogspot.com and expect the gadget to find the feed URL; instead, you have to enter the entire feed URL, which looks like http://<myblog>.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default.
  • Check the Pipes Debugger output by selecting each gadget. If you do not get the expected output, try to fix the problem before proceeding.
  • If you just want to merge two or more feeds, just use one Fetch Feed gadget instead of multiple Fetch Feed and one Union gadget; the Fetch Feed gadget allows you to enter more than one URL.
  • To use your new Pipe in Facebook Notes, you have to use your pipe's RSS output, whose URL ends with &_render=rss, not just the pipe's basic address. (Upon hindsight, it is obvious, but I tripped over that problem, too.)