Piping status: Your Plaxo Into Blogger

If you have a Blogger blog, then it is time to get up to date with Plaxo and Yahoo! Pipes. Once more, as in many other Widgets I have produced, the Widget might be of little sensible use. But it has an instructive purpose in addition: it shows how to mash up datafeeds from another websites, change them into JSON, so that you can clearly pump the data into your Blogger sidebar. So let’s go!

What is Plaxo?
plaxo into blogger

Plaxo is a social network assistance,  which you can use to keep your personal and business networks. Plaxo has been out there for several years now, but the new thought of Plaxo Pulse has given new dimensions to the use of Plaxo. The Pulse lets you share all kind of information with your network. You can add blogfeeds, links, photo, messages and share them with your friends, family, business relations, or others.

Yahoo! Pipes

With Yahoo! Pipes you can exchange any feed from any webpage into something else. You can mash up data from different sources, and generate your own feed with it.

Piping your Pulse into Blogger

For this new widget I permitted my Personal Pulse Feed in Plaxo. This means that there is a feed containing all events that took place, for instance changes in personal information ( Mobile number, address, etc.), or links that I added to my Pulse. This feed is a ordinary RSS-feed.
So that is where Yahoo! Pipes come in useful. I created a easy pipe, that picks up the Plaxo Feed Url. The production of this pipe can be retrieved in JSON-format.

Setting Up Your Plaxo Feed

If you have a Plaxo account, sign in on Plaxo, and select your Pulse.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click on RSS Feeds. This fetches you to the Pulse Stream RSS Feeds page. Here you can see the 5 possible feeds: Everyone, Business Network, Family, Friends, and Me.

Choose one of them and click on Enable. The feed will be enabled, and you can copy the Feed Url from the textbox. Copy it to Notepad for now.

Creating the Pipe

If you have a Yahoo! account, go to http://pipes.yahoo.com and sign in.
At the upper part of the page, click on Create a pipe to bring up the Pipe Editor. You will see the blank canvas with the text drag modules here, and numerous modules to the left side of the canvas. Drag the Get Feed-module onto the canvas. Now copy the Plaxo Feed Url from Notepad, and paste it into the url-input box in the Fetch Feed Module. Now connect the Fetch Feed Module to the Pipe Output box. A blue line will emerge. You  just created your Pipe!
Click on the Pipe Output box to select it. In the Debugger screen at the bottom of the screen you will see your Pipe's Output.

Now click the Save-button, and click Back to my pipes.

A the list of pipes, click on you’re newly created Plaxo Pipe to run it and view its output. At the top-right corner you will find a small Feed-icon, with the text more options. Click this link to open a small pop-up menu. Right-click on the menu option called Get as JSON and copy the link and save it in Notepad. You will need this JSON-Feed-Url in the next step.

Now Installing the Widget

Now it is period to install the widget to your Blog. In the Widgets and Downloads Page, and click the Add Plaxo Pulse Widget to my Blog button. This will start the Click-n-Go Installer. In the install-screen, enter the JSON-Feed-Url from your Yahoo Pipe, and set the highest number of items to display. Click Modify to create the Widget code, and then Add to my Blog to add the Widget to one of your Blogs.

Add some CSS

For your expediency I have added 3 custom CSS classes:
.bbplaxobox: a covering containing the widget

.bbplaxoitem: the item itself

.bbwidgetfooter: the widget footer
Now add style descriptions for these classes to your template's skin.

Your Secrecy

As much as I know, sharing the feed only shares the fact that you have added or changed information. The feed will not contain the new information. Clicking on a Pulse Item brings the user to the Plaxo Pages. Information is only detectable after sign-in, for users who are connected to you.

I expect this has some use, or that it inspires you to delve further into Piping and JSON.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

More From Webworld