More RSS Radars: Video Search

Video on the Internet is hot, hot, hot. But you already knew that. You visit loads of video sharing sites to check out what’s new. Or maybe you already monitor a few sites using their RSS feed in a feed reader. But now you’re finding it increasingly harder to keep track or find the types of new videos you’d like to watch for.

What we need is an RSS video radar. We’ll use the same principles as we did in the previous Yahoo Pipes RSS Radar tubetorial, but we’ll throw in a different Yahoo Pipes module, RSS Builder.


These are the basic steps:

  1. Search Google Videos for a term, say “cars”.
  2. Grab the RSS URL for the results.
  3. Build an initial Yahoo Pipe to produce all the items in the RSS feed.
  4. Modify the Pipe to truncate the feed at 10 videos maximum.
  5. Modify the Pipe to let the end user specify the maximum number of items.
  6. Modify the Pipe to let the end user specify the search term.
  7. Replace the “Fetch Feed” module with the “URL Builder” module.

So the tutorial videos start with a basic pipe and keep refining them so that the Radar becomes general use. Once the number of feed items and the search term have been specified, Yahoo Pipes generates a suitable RSS URL on the fly. You can in fact pop that URL into your favorite feed reader, making it easy to monitor and browse whatever your Radar is supposed to find you.

A couple of things to note:

  1. What you see when you run the Video Search Radar depends on what video site you are taking the feed from and from which results. Google Videos, used in this tubetorial, shows a screen preview for each item in the feed. Other sites might only show a link and description.
  2. I’ve only used one feed, Google Videos, in this example. If you want to search across multiple video feeds simultaneously, you probably want to use a method similar to the RSS Bargain Hunting Radar. I.e., don’t use the URL Builder. Instead, use merge the video RSS feeds together using the Fetch Feed module. You would need to use the Pipes Filter module and use the user-input search criteria on title, description, etc. The net result would be the same. In Yahoo Pipes, there are often many ways to produce the same results. I wanted to show how to use the URL Builder.

Yahoo Pipes modules used

These are the Yahoo Pipes modules I’ve used in this tubetorial, at one stage or another.

  1. Fetch Feed – to specify the feed(s) to search for videos from.
  2. URL Builder – replaces Fetch Feed. Allows fine-tuning of the RSS URL used.
  3. Truncate – limits the number of videos listed in the results.
  4. Text Input – lets the Pipes user specify the type of videos to search for.
  5. Number Input – lets the Pipes user specify the number of items in the results. This value controls the Truncate module.

I’ve tried to keep things simple by using only one video RSS feed. To customize, you can sort videos by date submitted, add additional video feeds, filter for additional criteria, etc. If you are working with multiple feeds, you may want to stick with Fetch Feed instead of URL Builder, else you’ll need one URL Builder module per feed. That could become quite a complex pipe.

URLs of note

You can run the Video Search Radar Yahoo Pipe, clone it, then tweak it to your liking:

Screencast videos

Here are links to the Flash screencast videos for this tubetorial. I’ve placed them on a different page because they are wider than the available  space on this page. The entire screencast is split up into four parts mostly for convenience.

  1. Video 1 – Simple search for car videos.
  2. Video 2 – Customize search: video type prompt.
  3. Video 3 – URL Builder module.
  4. Video 4 – Run RSS video radar.

In a future tubetorial, I’ll refer back to this one to show you a few ways to set up your very own video blog.


One Comment

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  1. Hoo wee, all those properties in the modules are complicated!

    However, I do like the functional search form you created.