Flipboard-to-blog automated sharing
I was reading Flipboard the other day on the iPad, and I got annoyed for the hundredth time that there’s no easy way to get content OUT of Flipboard. I mean, if I see an article that I want to blog, it’s at least six clicks for me to post it here:

  1. Click on the article.
  2. Click the share button.
  3. Click “Open in Safari”.
  4. Click the bookmarks button.
  5. Click my custom bookmarklet to “add to w-g”.
  6. Click “submit” on the form.

(And since iOS doesn’t seem to save my security credentials, I usually have to type in a username and password too.)

It’s really annoying. What I want is to just click a “Share” button the way I can do in The Old Reader (which itself is based on how it used to work in Google Reader, back before Google gutted it and left it to die) and have it show up on my blog*. So I started thinking and tinkering.

Flipboard doesn’t have any RSS feeds or APIs publicly available. However, if you create a “Magazine” in the app, it gets published to the web on your public profile page. That made me think I could “flip” (ugh) articles to a magazine and then somehow pull the data in from the web URL. Eventually I realised that would involve scraping though, so I gave up on that angle.

The method I eventually settled on involved using Pocket as an intermediary. Pocket is a “read later” service that Flipboard supports, and conveniently Pocket offers an RSS feed of all your saved items. So I set up an account and then configured a cron job on my site to periodically hit the RSS feed and pull in any new items from the last day. That gets me down to a mere 3 clicks:

  1. Click on the article.
  2. Click the share button.
  3. Click “Save to Pocket.”

Easy peasy!

* Granted, that also involves a cron job pulling in data, but at least The Old Reader makes it easy by providing an RSS feed of your shared items.

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