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Yahoo Pipes to mash the web into usable peices

Screenshot of munch in action

So, I needed a project, it was lunch time and I was already thinking about food, so I got stuck into mentally planning my sinatra application, it would be fed straght from the cloud.

Yahoo Pipes allows you to visually parse and manipulate data using a series of drag and droppable widgets, I'd not given it a lot of respect until today.

YQL allows you to query Yahoo services, "who cares" I thought, thankfully Lachlan Hardy bitch slapped me upside the head, instructing me that it actually allows you to parse any public website.

Thats a lot of information kids!

For the time I spent using Yahoo pipes, I probably could've written parser to do it all for me;

  • Each piece would have its own format and require a custom parser.
  • Pipes lets me drag elements around to create the feed that I want.

Now that I have said feed... You can mess about with Yahoo Pipes, YQL, Sinatra and find something to make for dinner!

I still don't have a new blog, if I had one this would probably be a post; I'd have thought long and hard about what I said and how it came across. But I don't have one, so read the source code and make sure you checkout the pipe that I used to make it.

How to run it

Ensure you have Sinatra and the Json gems

sudo gem install sinatra json

Run it with ruby app.rb, rackup or use shotgun shotgun (my preference)


YQL was used to parse "The cook and the chef" web site

You can add as many more as you like to your own 'pipe' and the app doesn't have to change!


They get pretty complex and its a little hard to get into the mindset, but I found that I could stitch data together faster than I could write parsers, so...

It looks like this