Huginn - An Information Collection Agent
Written by Alex Denham   
Monday, 25 March 2013

Huginn, a new open source tool that lets you keep track of data and events on the web, is being described as Yahoo Pipes plus IFTTT on your own server. Huginn agents create and consume events, propagating the events along a directed event flow graph.

Yahoo Pipes is a composition tool that lets you aggregate, manipulate, and mashup content from around the web.

It lets you combine many feeds into one, then sort, filter and translate it. IFTTT (IF This Then That) is a service that lets you connect channels such as Facebook and Dropbox with profiles known as recipes - simple If statements matching the If This Then That pattern.

An examples of ‘This’ might be being tagged in a photo on Facebook. ‘That’ is the action that should occur when ‘This’ happens.

The creator of Huginn, Andrew Cantino, created the software for his own use, and describes it on Github as a system for building agents that perform automated tasks for you online. The agents can read the web and watch for events, so you could have an agent to watch for air travel deals, or to list terms that matter to you and keep watch for those terms trending on Twitter.

huginnagent400

 

(click in flowgraph to enlarge)

 

Cantino has created those agents and a few others, but you’ll be able to create your own agents or find ones developed by other programmers. The fact the software runs on your own server means you control the data it collects and creates. The local control is the reason Cantino developed the software, to overcome the problem of software becoming important then being dropped outside your control, with loss of long term data.

hugag2

Downloaders awarded Huginn over 1,200 stars on its first day on GitHub. You can use the agents without doing any programming, but setting up your own agents will obviously offer more possibilities. Developers on GitHub are already working on a version that is easy to deploy to Amazon EC2 or Heroku.

 

 

 

This introductory screencast showing Huginn in action creating a Twitter monitoring agent and agents that compile a daily custom weather alert.

It also explains, via Wikipedia where the name comes from. In Norse mythology, Huginn (Old Norse for "thought") and Muninn ("memory") or "mind"[3]) are a pair of ravens that fly all over the world and bring information to the god Odin.

 

huginnraven

 

More Information

Download Huginn from Github

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