Let’s get the, “What the heck is Huginn?” out of the way.
If you’ve heard of Zapier or IFTTT, that’s what this is. Only better. You host it. You control it. You program it. And everything’s in your control.
If you’ve used Yahoo Pipes, then I tip my hat to you my dear friend and tell the rest of you folk, that I believe all of these new fangled pieces of zaps and agents are the spiritual successor to that pioneering web app. IBM has a similar open source alternative, with all the new fangled hotness called Node-RED
Just like piping and transforming text with Unix utilities locally, Huginn lets us do that with web data. RSS feeds, webhooks, JSON data and the like. Take ’em, ingest ’em, chew on ’em, transform ’em and do what the heck you want with ’em!
So why did I settle on Huginn? And what do I use it for?
Well, I liked the name. And I wanted something Yahoo-pipesque for myself :)
I used it originally on my desktop, to push my blog posts to twitter and my mastodon account. And then I lost it in a system crash1 and I didn’t get to putting it up again.
Until a recent bout of sickness, and the urge to tinker led me to put it up on my vm.
I realised that I don’t want to use my programming hammer to tackle every computing hammer that I face. There’s too much to learn and too little life.
So if Huginn lets me do interesting things with json and liquid and duct tape, why ever not?
I still have to do the autopost to my social accounts2, but I’ve already set it up to scratch several itches I had.
- It scrapes a couple of art websites, that don’t have feeds and then creates RSS feeds so that I can read them peacefully in my RSS Reeder.
- I check my Calibre release feed, update my local install of Calibre to the latest hotness, and then get notified via a push notification, using a Rube Goldberg pastiche of Bash, cURL and Pushover.
- I love archiving episodes of my favourite podcast (the Cal Newport podcast3), so Huginn and Python and Syncthing and cron all pull together to get it in the right place, with the naming convention I want.4
I hope to write a bit more about each of these in the coming days, but needless to say, I’m having more fun playing with Huginn, than I imagined I ever would!
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