Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Pinboard and IFTTT - credential outage

I was quite pleased with my jury rigged replacement for my long lost Google Reader Shares. (Few remember them now, the net years have passed like leaves in the wind ...)

I had IFTTT tracking Pinboard posts and creating Tweets and posts to an archival WordPress blog. The Pinboard posts were largely created from the essential iOS Reeder.app and, less often, from Google Reader and Reeder.app for OS X.

It worked. I was happy. I started composing the celebratory blog post and explanation when...

Yes, you can guess. It fell apart.

I don't know why. Pinboard had blocked Superfeedr around that timefor aggressive crawling, but this turned out to be a red herring. IFTTT doesn't use Superfeedr.

IFTTT hasn't gotten back to me, but they're a free service so support is not predictable.

Well, I did know this was going to be a fragile and shortlived solution! I particularly didn't like that IFTTT is "free". I'm now looking for an alternate solution I can build around Reeder.app and Google Reader with Twitter and WordPress as outputs.

Update 6/19/2012: I didn't hear back from IFTTT support, but Pinboard convinced me to dig deeper there. I tried creating a new task but that also failed. The clue was in a screen I'd not visited, the Channels screen.

There I found this icon:
I edited it, reentered my credentials, and it's no longer offline. Now I'll see if it starts working again.

What happened? Well, there are two possibilities, and without help from IFTTT I don't know which is true. One is that Pinboard was unresponsive and IFTTT took the channel offline, but then never restarted it.

The other, which is at least as likely, is that I changed my password to Pinboard (I do that sort of thing) and that any email notification of subsequent credential failure was either misread, mislabeled, or filtered out. IFTTT doesn't use OAuth or similar service with Pinboard, so it needs my credentials to work. If that was the problem then IFTTT might be able to come up with a better way to notify users. For example; there was nothing on the IFTTT task screen to tell me a channel was offline, and when I manually triggered my tasks there was no error message.

Update 6/19/2012b: Fixing the Channels problem did the trick.

Thinking this over, why does IFTTT need my Pinboard credentials anyway? They are reading from a public feed, not writing to my account.

Update 6/22/2012: The latest IFTTT rev has much improved diagnostics. 


Julien said...

Julien from Superfeedr here. I don't think we're related to that problem in any way... but I'm heppy to help in any way I can... Feel free to get in touch. julien@superfeedr.com

John Gordon said...

No, you guys are clear. Just happened to be in neighborhood during the roundup.

I revised the post to sort that out.

Anonymous said...

I was just setting up IFTTT when this was going on. As a workaround, I set up a new private Twitter account to act as a sort of lame message queue between IFTTT and other services that are Twitter-capable but not OAuth... specifically for Pinboard. So IFTTT posts gReader starred items to Twitter with a special tag, then Pinboard pulls down that feed.