Some of you might consider this to be slightly off topic (unless you make some bizarre connection with the fact that Carol Bartz is now CEO of Yahoo! :-). Actually there is a more direct connection, as the technology I'm introducing in this post - and have just had lots of fun playing around with - has some really interesting capabilities for people who would like to filter and customize the various RSS feeds to which they subscribe.
Firstly I'd like to thank my friend and colleague Shaan Hurley for telling me about Yahoo! Pipes. This technology - which is currently in beta - allows you to bring in, manipulate and aggregate existing RSS feeds, as well as providing the capability for you to create your own feeds from all sorts of web-based content. Very interesting stuff.
Shaan's email came at just the right time for me, as I was struggling to aggregate our existing developer blogs (Through the Interface, The Building Coder and Mod the Machine) into a single feed for my team's SharePoint site (yes, believe it or not one of the things I do for fun is to work on my team's internal SharePoint site). It proved harder than expected using the out-of-the-box web-parts provided with SharePoint, so I jumped at the chance of hacking something together using Yahoo! Pipes which could then be consumed by the standard SharePoint RSS Viewer web-part.
Here's what I came up with:
The RSS feed itself can be used from here:
What does this pipe do? Well, it brings in the RSS feeds for each of the three blogs and performs some manipulation on them before aggregating them into a single feed, sorted by date and truncated to the 15 most recent posts. The RSS feeds for Jeremy's and my blogs don't publish the full contents of each post - we both decided against doing so, as our posts are often very long - while the feed for Brian's does. To make the various feeds consistent, I stripped off the "description" field from each item in Brian's feed by renaming it to "blank" (this could have been pretty much any name, I suspect). For each of the three feeds the Pipes implementation uses regular expressions to insert the blog name prior to the title for each post, making its source more readily identifiable.
Here's the map inside the Pipes editor (which is completely web-based and pretty simple to use, once you get the hang of it):
Hopefully you'll find some creative ways to make use of this technology: it seems to have some very interesting filtering capabilities, for instance, so you could quite easily set up your own feed to filter on certain keywords in my blog (although I'd much prefer you didn't filter too heavily, otherwise you'll risk missing some of the off-topic stuff such as this :-).