Design insights & tutorials.

Discover new design resources faster than Smashing Magazine: Use Yahoo Pipes

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Ever since I first heard about Yahoo Pipes more than a year ago, I’ve been looking for reasons to put it to work for me. But for some reason or another, it always ended up in the “cool but of little use” category. Today I really hunkered down in the Pipe builder and set out to create the ultimate Design Resource RSS feed.

Here’s what’ll be happening in this post:
1. How the Pipe was built
2. How to customize the Pipe for yourself
3. I don’t care – just feed me design candy!

1. How the Pipe was Built

I was searching around for a hairy Illustrator art brush, and came to Deviant Art’s Illustrator Brush page. There were some cool brushes (and a lot of crap), but I made a mental note to visit the page more often to build my collection of Illustrator brushes. But really, let’s be honest, that was never going to happen. There are just two many squeaky wheels of coolness around the web these days for me to really have the time to check Deviant Art more often. Yahoo Pipes to the rescue!

So after many false starts, and a little help from from a fellow pipe builder, I was able to use the “Feed Auto Discover” module to fetch updates to a bunch of Deviant Art’s resource pages as RSS feeds with preview images. By default, Deviant Art’s RSS feed is text only, kinda defeating the purpose.

To add to Deviant Art’s resources I added another module, “Fetch Feed” and added design resource feeds from the Go Mediazine itself, Brusheezy, Vecteezy, and IHeartVector.

I piped all of these feeds into a “Union” module, then to a “Sort” module that sorted the resources by date published. Output to RSS and voila – a huge RSS feed of graphic design resources. Here’s what the final Pipe looked like:

And here’s what the output looked like in my trusty Google Reader:

The beauty of this feed is that I can stay up to date on new design resources published on all of these pages at once, and they come to me in one feed. That’s also the curse of it – too much to handle (and scrolling past a bunch of crap to get to the good stuff). That’s where customization comes in.

2. How to Customize the Pipe for Yourself

Well first you’re going to have to have a Yahoo account. If you have a Yahoo mail account or a Flickr account, you’ve got one already. So let’s get started and sign into Pipes:

Now, in the search box go ahead and type “Design Resource”. The Design Resource Megafeed should be the first result. Click “View Results”.

Now you should see a list of results returned from the Design Resource Megafeed. But you want to customize this, right? Then click on “Edit Source”.

Alright, we’re almost there. You should now see that mess of boxes and tubes like in the first screen shot in this guide. Here is where you’ll be editing the sources of the pipe so that it only outputs stuff you want to see. Don’t care about getting latest scoop of Illustrator Actions from Deviant Art? Then click the little ‘minus’ button to the left of the Illustrator Actions source.


Note: You’ll have to select the URL and scroll to the left to see the whole thing and figure out which is which.

Of course you don’t have to stop at removing sources. Add in your favorite sources not on this list to make it your own.

If you want to get real fancy you can set up a filter. In the left menu under Sources and and User Inputs, click Operators to unfold the modules. See ‘Filter’? That’s what we’ll use to further limit the list of design resources based on your preferences. Drag it into the editing space.

Personally, I don’t want to see any of the anime crap that Deviant Art is famous for (sorry anime fans). So, I set up my filter to block any posts that contain “anime” in the description.

Once I got the filter set up, I grabbed the output tube (Pipe) from the ‘Sort’ module and dragged it into the input circle of the ‘Filter’ module. Then, I connected the ‘Filter’ module to the ‘Output’ module in the same way.

And there you have it – your own customized design resource feed! This is what my final customized Pipe looks like:

3. I Don’t Care – Just Feed me Design Candy!

Okay already! Click for the Design Resource Megafeed
Click the RSS Button shown in the screen shot below to add to your favorite reader (which of course is Google Reader, right?).

Hope you enjoyed this little guide to Yahoo Pipes. If you use this Pipe to make an even sweeter mashup, be sure to link it here in the comments!

About the Author, Adam Wagner

I'm a marketer, designer, armchair singer/songwriter, wannabe theoretical physicist/philosopher and recent college grad trying to pack as much living as possible into each day. Working at Go Media makes this pretty easy. Catch me on Twitter!!
Discover More by Adam Wagner

Discussion

We want to hear what you have to say. Do you agree? Do you have a better way to approach the topic? Let the community know by joining the discussion.

  • name

    “add to your favorite reader (which of course is Google Reader, right?)”, wrong, it’s either snownews or newsbeuter, but that doesn’t matter much

  • name

    “add to your favorite reader (which of course is Google Reader, right?)”, wrong, it’s either snownews or newsbeuter, but that doesn’t matter much

  • Andre

    Woah, this tutorial is super useful! I’m always trolling for new resources and this totally saves me time. Thanks for posting!
    .amp

  • Andre

    Woah, this tutorial is super useful! I’m always trolling for new resources and this totally saves me time. Thanks for posting!
    .amp

  • Fugitive

    Dam!!!!!!!!!!!
    thanks brother!!!!!!!

  • Fugitive

    Dam!!!!!!!!!!!
    thanks brother!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    “I DON’T CARE – JUST FEED ME DESIGN CANDY!”
    ha ha! that made me laugh! mostly because that was what I was thinking :)

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Tiffany

    “I DON’T CARE – JUST FEED ME DESIGN CANDY!”
    ha ha! that made me laugh! mostly because that was what I was thinking :)

    Thanks for sharing!

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  • http://newlevelgraphics.com Heather

    Thanks for the great introduction to Yahoo Pipes.. plus the feed you created is pretty useful. I spend way too much time searching for these resources…

  • http://newlevelgraphics.com Heather

    Thanks for the great introduction to Yahoo Pipes.. plus the feed you created is pretty useful. I spend way too much time searching for these resources…

  • http://www.gomedia.us adam

    Now that I’ve been using the feed for almost a week, I have download a lot of stuff! Mostly textures. Actually, I wish there was an easy way to filter what get’s through based on popularity, but the whole idea is that you get it right away… If I find a way I’ll Post a Pipe. Thanks for reading!

  • http://www.gomedia.us adam

    Now that I’ve been using the feed for almost a week, I have download a lot of stuff! Mostly textures. Actually, I wish there was an easy way to filter what get’s through based on popularity, but the whole idea is that you get it right away… If I find a way I’ll Post a Pipe. Thanks for reading!

  • ChequeredManiac

    Nice post. I find it a little complicated though, pipes that is. I was looking at the pipe you made to filter the deviantart feeds to have images and it looked really technical, and it was late so I thought it was best not to try to understand. Anyway thanks for letting us know about it.

  • ChequeredManiac

    Nice post. I find it a little complicated though, pipes that is. I was looking at the pipe you made to filter the deviantart feeds to have images and it looked really technical, and it was late so I thought it was best not to try to understand. Anyway thanks for letting us know about it.

  • Nathan

    What if a site doesn’t have an RSS feed and I want to receive updates from the site. For example: When Go Media posts a new vector pack at http://gomedia.us/arsenal/
    (I know Go Media has an RSS feed but some sites don’t)

  • Nathan

    What if a site doesn’t have an RSS feed and I want to receive updates from the site. For example: When Go Media posts a new vector pack at http://gomedia.us/arsenal/
    (I know Go Media has an RSS feed but some sites don’t)

  • http://www.gomedia.us adam

    Nathan: That is always a tricky one. Sometimes (if you use firefox), a little RSS icon will appear in the address bar even if you can’t find one on the site. If that doesn’t work, here’s how Yahoo Pipes can help:

    Start a new pipe a la the tutorial.. then under “sources” to the left, you’ll see “Fetch Feed”, “Fetch Data”, “Fetch Page”. What you want is “Fetch Page” – this attempts to force an RSS-like feed from the updates to a page. Let me know if this works!

  • http://www.gomedia.us adam

    Nathan: That is always a tricky one. Sometimes (if you use firefox), a little RSS icon will appear in the address bar even if you can’t find one on the site. If that doesn’t work, here’s how Yahoo Pipes can help:

    Start a new pipe a la the tutorial.. then under “sources” to the left, you’ll see “Fetch Feed”, “Fetch Data”, “Fetch Page”. What you want is “Fetch Page” – this attempts to force an RSS-like feed from the updates to a page. Let me know if this works!

  • http://www.fubiz.net Fubiz

    Thanks for the tips.

  • http://www.fubiz.net Fubiz

    Thanks for the tips.

  • http://www.fillslashstroke.com md

    Hey, really great article. I wish I’d seen this earlier. I wrote something similar about using pipes to help aggregate your job search, along with using Dapper.net to build feeds from sites.

    Dapper Pipes

    Yours gets a little more deep into pipes though, which is nice to see. It’s a super useful tool, the robustness of it, I’m sure, has a lot of other uses too. Thanks for the good read!

  • http://www.fillslashstroke.com md

    Hey, really great article. I wish I’d seen this earlier. I wrote something similar about using pipes to help aggregate your job search, along with using Dapper.net to build feeds from sites.

    Dapper Pipes

    Yours gets a little more deep into pipes though, which is nice to see. It’s a super useful tool, the robustness of it, I’m sure, has a lot of other uses too. Thanks for the good read!

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  • sam

    great post Adam, thx for doing the work to show this illustravie tut on Tubes and what a very useful addition to the Reader!
    but has anyone noticed it’s been silent? This feed usually outputs 100+ items/day and hasn’t output anything in 24hrs…?

  • sam

    great post Adam, thx for doing the work to show this illustravie tut on Tubes and what a very useful addition to the Reader!
    but has anyone noticed it’s been silent? This feed usually outputs 100+ items/day and hasn’t output anything in 24hrs…?

  • http://www.gomedia.us Adam Wagner

    @ Sam

    yea, I have noticed that. But then, a day or so later it seems to make up for it (or at least, turn back on). I have no idea why this might be. Just when I thought of going in to re-work the pipe, I checked and had some 300+ unread items in the feed – go figure.

    If you find a solution let everybody know here!

  • http://www.gomedia.us Adam Wagner

    @ Sam

    yea, I have noticed that. But then, a day or so later it seems to make up for it (or at least, turn back on). I have no idea why this might be. Just when I thought of going in to re-work the pipe, I checked and had some 300+ unread items in the feed – go figure.

    If you find a solution let everybody know here!

  • http://www.mariusnedelcu.com marius

    thanks a lot guys I was looking for something like this for a long time.

  • http://www.mariusnedelcu.com marius

    thanks a lot guys I was looking for something like this for a long time.

  • http://userstyles.org/users/7858 -=Ben=-

    Thanks so much.
    I used your code to generate my own DeviantART RSS feeds for SciFi Wallpapers, and SpaceScapes!!

    5-Star BlogPost!!

  • http://userstyles.org/users/7858 -=Ben=-

    Thanks so much.
    I used your code to generate my own DeviantART RSS feeds for SciFi Wallpapers, and SpaceScapes!!

    5-Star BlogPost!!

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    I was looking at the pipe you made to filter the deviantart feeds to have images and it looked really technical, and it was late so I thought it was best not to try to understand. Anyway thanks for letting us know about it.

  • Dan

    Excellent job..
    dizi izle

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  • Pcross29

    For some reason Google Reader stopped showing me image previews for this feed.

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