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Burn your Yahoo Pipes

What?

Mix feeds with Yahoo Pipes — enhance and analyze them by publishing with Feedburner.

Burn your Yahoo! Pipes

Yahoo Pipes is a feed mixing service, and Feedburner provides tools for enhancing, analyzing, and publishing feeds. It doesn't always make sense to combine the two, but when it does, these complimentary services provide a good set of feedmastering tools.

When?

Publish with Feedburner when a pipe's feed is more valuable than its architecture.

Creating a Yahoo Pipe produces two significant outputs:

  • Architecture - The ability to publish pipes makes it easy to copy and build on each others' work. This is how a lot of us started learning HTML when the web was new, and it's a great way to share knowledge and help something catch on fast. Publish your pipe with Yahoo Pipes when its architecture is important.
  • Feed - In some cases, the feed a pipe produces is more important than sharing its architecture. Gina Trapani at Lifehacker writes about using Pipes to create a master feed of all the feeds you publish. In this case, the feed and its readership stats are likely more valuable to the publisher than the details of its construction would be to other people. (Gina offers her useful example pipe for people to copy, but most will consider this a pretty basic pipe once they get the hang of feedmixing). Publish your pipe's feed with Feedburner when its feed is important.

I'm not encouraging anyone to withold publishing pipes using the Pipes publishing interface, but when the pipe's feed is more important than its architecture, publishing it using Feedburner offers several benefits.

Why?

Feedburner is an established feed publishing service that provides valuable feed analysis and management tools, making it a good front end for publishing feeds.

  • Free basic readership statistics, with graphs.
  • Feed promotion services that make sure feed search engines know about your updates.
  • Human-readable feed address. You can choose a meaningful name and address for your feed, rather than publishing the complex one produced by your pipe. This makes it easier to talk about and identify when you are working with your feeds outside the Pipes interface. (Hint: Name your Feedburner feed the same as you name the pipe that produces it, so they're easy to match up.)
  • Flexibility and persistence. Publishing your feed via Feedburner means its address will remain the same if you decide to use something other than Yahoo Pipes to produce it.
  • Centralized feed publishing & management. If you're already using Feedburner (e.g., to publish your blog's feed), you may want to consider using it as a central service for publishing all your feeds.
  • Add various enhancements to your feed.

How?

Build, burn, and share.

  • Build a pipe. Create a Yahoo Pipe and "run" it to get its feed address. Don't publish the pipe — if you do, people will subscribe directly to its feed, and you want them to use your burned feed. (Running the pipe gives you its feed address without publishing the pipe.)
  • Burn the pipe's feed. Create a new feed in Feedburner using the pipe's feed as the "Original Feed". Feedburner will guide you through adding any enhancements you want.
  • Share the burned feed. Feedburner offers various feed promotion and publishing services, but once you've burned it and have the new human-readable address you chose for it, you can share it any way you like — email, social networking services, etc.