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Yahoo has finally given up on Yahoo Pipes, along with a number of other tools that weren’t making them any money. So, all of us who relied on Yahoo Pipes to clean up dodgy RSS feeds need an alternative. And fast.
Ultimately, the alternative tool you choose to go with for your RSS feed manipulation will depend on what you were originally using Yahoo Pipes for, your operating system, and your technical proficiency. Most of these solutions will involve a little bit of know-how and your own personal server or virtual private server solution.
Also, keep in mind that people use Yahoo Pipes for a variety of different things, so the idea of a perfect Yahoo Pipes alternative is going to be a bit different for everyone. Some of these options may also seem quite a long way from your idea of productivity with Yahoo Pipes, yet exactly what someone else needs as a good alternative. That said, I’ll save the one I think is best for last.
Now please note the Yahoo Pipes closure comes in two stages.
On August 30th 2015 Yahoo will make your Pipes read-only. Then, on 30th September 2015 they will close for good.
Back up Your Pipes
Before you look at the alternatives, it might be a wise idea to simply back up all your Pipes. Yahoo has offered a way to back up individual pipes, but this could take a really long time to do manually if you have more than a few Pipes.
With Yahoo’s back up, all you need to do is plug your own pipe’s ID into the following URL and then save the output. Then, repeat for each and every pipe you own. Ouch!
The 13 Standout Yahoo Pipes Alternatives
There’s a neat tool on Github called Pipe2Py that will turn your pipes into Python scripts. Run the Python equivalent on your own server. It’s also hosted on Google App Engine if you just want to give it a quick try.
RSS Percolator is a tool that does what most people do with Yahoo Pipes: merge a few RSS feeds together and filter out the entries you don’t want. It also lets you give the new name a nice title and description. It’s really basic and you’ll have to host it yourself, but it works.
Superpipes is an app designed specifically to replace Yahoo Pipes, as they foresaw its demise coming a long way off. It’s built using Superfeedr and hosted on Heroku, which is a pay-as-you-use app hosting solution with free signup.
There is a slight catch though, in that it relies on two addons, one of which is only available to Heroku beta testers (which you can apply to here: https://beta.heroku.com/). I’ve only just applied to be a beta tester myself, so I can’t verify that Superpipes works properly yet. However it looks really promising and shouldn’t be ignored as an option.
FeedsAPI is a web app we first introduced you to way back in 2011 as a simple way to expand RSS feeds from a short feed to a full feed. It has actually evolved into a far more interesting tool since then, allowing you to do all sorts of tricks, like automatically getting information from static HTML pages and turning them into RSS feeds or emails.
The catch? It’s a paid solution that starts at $15/month.
Pypes is an application designed to replicate the look of Yahoo Pipes as well as the functionality. The drag-and-drop interface is based on Stackless Python.
ClickScript is an interesting visual way to run scripts, so it has that aspect of Yahoo Pipes covered. The ClickScript website seems to be unable to register people at the moment, but it is open source and available on GitHub if you want to play with your own version of it.
The idea behind WebHookIt was not to be a clone of Yahoo Pipes, however that’s exactly what it looks like. This is great news for people who loved using the graphic interface to create their pipes. It uses Node.js and MongoDB to get things done, and you can host it on your own AWS account if you follow some easy instructions.
Mulesoft is an enterprise application developed to work with all sorts of APIs for various purposes. It does require you to download software and seems to be free only for a trial period.
Quadrigram could be described as IFTTT+++. The web app lets you easily use APIs from hundreds of services to get your own things done. It seems to be designed with businesses in mind, and the Big Data tool could be an overkill as a replacement for Yahoo Pipes. It has 400 analytical modules that help you analyze and visualize data.
Kimono is a web app that lets you run APIs and crawl websites on a schedule, and export the data as JSON/CSV/RSS. It also integrates with Google Sheets and WordPress. The free plan should cover what most people want it to do.
What’s awesome about this tool is that once you see it in action you’ll realize it can do far more than Pipes ever did — and more easily! I’m almost glad Yahoo Pipes’ demise has sent me to this replacement.
For many, Yahoo Pipes was used to combine personal RSS feeds from many sites, and then post them to Twitter or Facebook.
If all you’re doing with Yahoo Pipes is merging feeds to post to somewhere else, you can do a simple version of this using Feedly Pro and IFTTT. Use a recipe that takes new items in a Feedly category and send it to Twitter, Buffer or Facebook.
Feed Combining + Feed Filtering
If you’re not a Feedly Pro user, there are dozens of feed combining tools out there you can use.
You may want to simply filter the feed somewhat before you post it to Twitter. Take that combined feed and run it through something like Twitterfeed or IFTTT, being sure to set options that filter for certain keywords, and adding hashtags before it posts.
Huginn is the solution most Yahoo Pipes users seem to be turning to. It’s an app you can grab from GitHub, allowing you to do anything Yahoo Pipes could do and most things IFTTT can do too.
You can run it on your own server, or you can deploy it on Heroku for free using a simple install process. If that doesn’t suit you, there are instructions in the wiki for deployment on dozens of other services, including a guide for complete novices.
This is the most popular of all the GitHub solutions mentioned, and has a huge, active support community behind it. It’s well documented and easy to use. Plus, once you start playing with it you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
Which Yahoo Pipes Alternative Suits You?
So, tell us which of these Yahoo Pipes replacements you’ve tried and what you liked or hated about each one. Also, let us know if anyone has developed an easy way to back up multiple Pipes. We all want one!
Image Credits: pipes via Shutterstock