Pipes & Digg

I played with pipes a bit tonight. It's an amazing powerful tool. My goal was to create a feed for digg that looked and acted like the digg website. The official digg RSS feed is light on useful content and makes you go back to the digg website when you want more info. My goal is to be able to read the feed in Google Reader where they have the ever time saving keyboard shortcuts without returning to digg to get to the full content.

I was blown away by the raw power of pipes and at the same time flabbergasted by some of the basic things they left out. There's no place to put code comments and the largest text field is about 10 characters wide. Considering that I was trying to reformat the description field of an RSS feed, that was a little small. I ended up working in a text editor and then doing a copy and paste.

Another thing I noticed was rookie developer silliness in a lot of the pipes. One pipe author (who wrote a really useful pipe) decided that "aaaa" was a sufficiently descriptive variable name to describe content he got from searching for a news story on digg. I'm a firm believer that you should be able to read a variable name and know what it's all about so "aaaa" is a bit vague for me.

Just to make sure I wasn't being too picky I ran "aaaa" by Mark (friend & guru developer). His take was "aaaa" is perfectly named if the variable is telling you if you're falling. So maybe I was being overly critical.

public boolean getAaaaa();

Anyway, the pipe I made makes a feed for digg that:
  • Links directly to the article (instead of the digg page)
  • Has the basic layout of a digg article
  • Shows the article thumbnail images from Digg.
Here's a link to the pipe: http://pipes.yahoo.com/russelldad/diggdev7

Share and enjoy!