OUseful.Info, the blog…

Trying to find useful things to do with emerging technologies in open education

Grabbing the JSON Description of a Yahoo Pipe from the Pipe Itself

In a series of recent posts, (The Yahoo Pipes Documentation Project – Initial Thoughts, Grabbing JSON Data from One Web Page and Displaying it in Another, . Starting to Think About a Yahoo Pipes Code Generator) I’ve started exploring some of the various ingredients that might be involved in documenting the structure of a Yahoo Pipe and potentially generating some programme code that will then implement a particular pipe.

One problem I’d come across was how to actually obtain the abstract description of a pipe. I’d found an appropriate Javascript object within an open Pipes editor, but getting that data out was a little laborious…

…and then came a comment on one of the posts from Paul Daniel/@hapdaniel, pointing me to a pipe that included a little trick he was aware of. A trick for grabbing the description of a pipe from a pipe’s pipe.info feed (e.g. http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.info?_out=json&_id=eed5e097836289dfb4e8586220b18e0e.

Paul used something akin to this YPDP pipe’s internals pipe to grab the data from the info feed of a specified pipe (the URL of which has the form http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.info?_id=PIPE_ID using YQL:


It’s just as easy to grab the JSON feed from YQL, e.g. using a query of the form:
select PIPE.working from json where url=”http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.info?_out=json&_id=44d4492a582d616bffda237d461c5ef4″. The pipe id is the id of the pipe you want the description of.

If you have a Yahoo account, you can try this for yourself in the YQL developer console:

We can then grab the JSON feed either from YQL or the YPDP pipe’s internals pipe into a web page and run whatever we want from it.

So for example, the demo service I have set up at http://ouseful.open.ac.uk/ypdp/pipefed.php will take an id argument containing the id of a pipe, and display a crude textual description of it. Like this:

So what’s next on the “to do” list? Firstly, I want to tidy up – and further unpack – the “documentation” that the above routine produces. Secondly, there’s the longer term goal of producing the code generator. If anyone fancies attacking that problem, you can get hold of the JSON description of a pipe from its ID using either the YPDP internals pipe or the YQL query that are shown above.

Written by Tony Hirst

March 4, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Posted in Pipework, YPDP

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  1. […] this year, I started to have a ponder around the idea of a Yahoo Pipes Documentation Project (the code appears to have rotted unfortunately; I think I need to put a proper JSON parser in […]

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