The problem I just faced yesterday: I’m setting up a new WordPress.com site for my Scout group (9th Brunswick Scouts if you’d like a peek) and I wanted to display a Twitter list in a sidebar widget. Now a single account Twitter widget (for example the official tweets from Scouts Australia) is no trouble at all – WordPress has you covered there with a built-in Twitter widget. What I wanted, however, was this excellent Scouts-Australian twitter list from Scouts ACT. No dice, the WordPress.com plugin was written before Twitter introduced their lists feature.
So I start looking around for solutions. Twitter have a Goodies area which is their official tools for adding Tweet this or Twitter accounts buttons to your site. Even better, they have a great widget builders – with a list widget! I thought I was onto something here, but is is a script – and you can’t host scripts on WordPress.com. Sad.
So what was I to do? Enter Yahoo Pipes : “a powerful composition tool to aggregate, manipulate, and mashup content from around the web.” Yahoo created this incredibly useful piece of internet plumbing almost three years ago!
Huh? How can that help? More on that in a moment …
There’s enormous value in Yahoo Pipes, if you’re willing to dig deep enough. Fortunately, it is also easy for those who have created a Pipe to share it – this is where Pipes come in really handy for ‘the rest of us.’
Find a great Pipe that fits your needs: clone it to your own space (both so you know you’ll always have access even if the author deletes the original and in case the author changes the pipe so you get different outputs than you were expecting!) – yes this does mean signing in with your Yahoo account. You do have one of those, right?
Is there a Pipe to solve our problem? You bet! Here it is : Twitter List RSS – Twitter list rss pipe gives you a (so far missing) RSS feed for any publicly available list on Twitter.
Starting to fall into place? OK now here’s the good bit. WordPress.com blogs have an RSS widget – so all you need to do is grab the RSS feed from this pipe, having set it up with your desired Twitter list, and bingo you are all set.
Other interesting Pipes you might find are : Flickr: Comments on my photos by other people Give it the last bit of your Flickr address and it will give you a feed of comments on your photos made by anyone but yourself!
There are literally bajillions of Pipes out there – so get exploring. Even better, Yahoo are working on Pipes V2 Engine which is of interest if you’re going to start getting intot he plumbing business yourself
Have fun hacking Twitter lists into your WordPress.com hosted blogs!