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Per a suggestion in a comment here I've been working on simplifying the Yahoo Pipes that manage the nearly 200 RSS feeds associated with the Salon. I'd been using a method that worked well but was becoming unwieldy: for every five RSS feeds I created a pipe that took the feeds, added a tag (an abbreviated version of the blog's name) to each post title, filtered the titles for the terms "Sunday Salon" or "TSS", and then sorted them by publication date. Each of these sub Pipes would emit an RSS feed, which I then plugged into the main Yahoo Pipe, which took all the output from each and combined it. Worked, as I say, but I was up to using 41 separate Pipes to get the job done, which was getting ridiculous.

So, the commenter suggested that I use instead a Google spreadsheet to keep track of the RSS feeds and their associated tags--a process which would be much simpler to maintain for me. After much effort I managed to get this to work, so that now there are only three elements to the process:

1. The Google Spreadsheet listing all the RSS feeds in column 1 and their associated tags in column 2.

2. The main Yahoo Pipe, which fetches the feed from the spreadsheet, sends it over to the sub Pipe, then gets the results from the sub Pipe, filters them, sorts them by date, and outputs them.

3. The sub Yahoo Pipe loops through the items from the spreadsheet, attaching the tags to each post title. (I would never have been able to figure that one out without cloning a Pipe from someone else.)

What does this mean for you? Hopefully nothing. You won't have to resubscribe to any different feeds. And hopefully the transition to the new system will be smooth and I won't have introduced any errors along the way. But it's possible that my switching over will result in a spate of back posts being republished to your RSS feeds. Please just delete them if so without getting annoyed about it.

There is one other negative, which is that I'll be changing the way the Salon connects to Twitter, and it may result in not all Salon posts being Twittered henceforth. That is, instead of feeding each of those forty-odd RSS feeds to TwitterFeed separately, I'll just be feeding one feed in now. Since TwitterFeed has a limit of five posts per half hour per feed received, this may result in some of the posts not making it to Twitter.

QUESTION: If anyone knows how I can add a space between the tag and the post title via the Pipe (adding a space in the spreadsheet doesn't do it), please let me know. Figured it out. Plus I managed to append the publication date, in parentheses, to the end of every post title. These may be Eastern time, though, so you may find that posts from England, etc., appear to have been posted early.

ALSO: If anyone wants their tag changed--the [BRACKETED] thing that's appended to your post's title in the Salon feed--just let me know. As long as it's unique (you can check the spreadsheet), it can be anything you like. And if anyone wants to be removed from the feed, let me know that too.



Thank you so much for doing all of this work Deb! I love the Sunday Salon and look forward to participating and/or reading other posts each week.


My tag seems to have changed in the new system :o)
Could I go back to [Bart] rather than [Buzz]? Thanks!


Wow, I had no idea it was such an intense process for you! Thanks for doing all that, Deb.

I often get back posts showing up in my Google reader; will this solve that glitch (after the initial spate)?

Thanks again! Sunday Salon is great.


Bart: Thanks for the correction! I have no idea how I managed to write BUZZ instead of BART. But it's fixed now!

Thanks, Terri. I'm actually not sure if it will solve that problem or not. I'm not sure what's causing that. The ways of RSS feeds are mysterious to me.


Deb: My tag right now is FOOL. I'd prefer UNFINISHEDPERSON, all one word, please. I'm having the same problem as Terri, in that I get posts from weeks ago too, but it might be something in the way that people are setting up their feeds too. Also I'll have to add those folks to my tags (under Sunday_Salon, I guess, and also book_blogs). I was thinking I'd like to do that, but wasn't sure how to do it. Thanks.


Oh my goodness, I had no idea how much was involved. Why don't you post a wishlist or something so we can show our appreciation? :-)


Unfinished! I'm surprised you don't want to be known as FOOL :) I'll change it.

I'm not sure about the duplicates. I think there may be many variables involved, but I don't know enough to say anything intelligent about it.

If you have that Delicious toolbar tool installed you could add all the blogs from the Salon to delicious pretty quickly: just go down the list and open the pages and tag them. Or, is there a bulk add? You could snag all the RSS feeds from the spreadsheet if so.

Julie: Thanks for your nice thought! But no, no, I'm not asking for anything, believe me.


The feed is not working today. It is taking us to the comments feed for most of the blogger blogs. With typepad, wordpress, it seems to be working fine. What ould have gone wrong?

Thought I would let you know...


Hi, Gautami. Thanks. I'm not sure what's going on. I'm trying to figure it out, but so far I'm clueless.


Okay, I've done some experimenting. I don't know why but it seems like the blogger atom 1.0 feeds, which are in this form:

Have for some reason started misbehaving with the Pipe, even though they used to work. So that now it's spitting out the address for the comments feed. But it seems as if the RSS 2.0 feed, which takes this form:

Is working okay. So I'm going to change all the feeds over to the RSS 2.0 form. I think that this will mean that new posts from those affected Blogger blogs will not have the same problem, but only time will tell. Thanks.

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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Reading Herodotus: A Guided Tour through the Wild Boars, Dancing Suitors, and Crazy Tyrants of The History. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

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