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RSSlets: Even More Ideas for RSS

Wow. If you are just reading some of the buzz (it’s about time!) about RSS, check out RSSlets – Functional RSS Feeds a series of prototypes for getting at RSS content that may be on the fringe of your idea scope. These are a whole raft of new services that are creative ways to syndicate content that is not static.

My ultimate vision for RSSlet is a service that allows users to generate dynamic RSS feeds that actually do something functional from any web page. I’m a big believer in iterative and interactive design and development. So in line with this, rather than developing the service in its entirety and then releasing it to the world, I’m starting with making some of my prototype explorations available for use and feedback. Since this is a work in progress everything here is labeled as use at your own risk. As I add more functionality and polish everything up into a useable standalone service, I’ll post updates here.

<tiphat> A tip of the blog hat to Scott Leslie for sending this my way</tiphat>

Among the RSSlets:
FedEx– track packages via RSS rather than keeping at the FedEx site

Google News– you can add any keyword to filter Google News for your favorite topic.

Comics– not sure how/why one would use, but the demo provides RSS Feeds to the funnies from Exploding Dog

Ain’t it Cool NewsRSS feed to grab headlines scraped from here

This may just be the beginning of a torrent of new exploitations of RSS. Simple=Cool.

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as


  1. As an after thought, it would have been a nice bonus if the source cide was provided (I give all of my code away and foolishly believe others would do the same)

  2. I agree. But the hard part is finding the exact URL to request. Once you know the location, it’s a snap to write a script that downloads the content, parses it, and returns the result as RSS.

    I’m sort of surprised the author of the RSSlets didn’t write a script to tap into weather stations worldwide and create weather RSS feeds. Then again, it has probably already been done and I just haven’t seen it.

  3. Well yes, it is not hard for a programmer to figure out, but how amout my Mom? The important thing is creating and demo-ing new services that can expose syndicatable content that are useful and maybe soon starting to see more integration. It is still a fad, but moving up the meme lane fast.

    The weather RSS demo circulated a few days ago, a search from feedster got it:

  4. Well, your Mom isn’t going to do a whole lot with the source code, either. What we want, of course, is for these feeds to be seamlessly integrated into useful apps.

  5. All this raises an issue that has vexed me for some time.

    In an RSS file (or, for that matter, in the links that are distributed via blogs), there are two ways to go:

    1. Directly to the resource being linked – this is what I do, and what Scott Leslie does

    2. To the blog post itself, in which if you look you will find the actual link embedded in the description text.

    It’s a real pain. There’s no way really to tell in advance (though the major blogging tools predictably (and uselessly) point to the blog entry). Even worse, there’s no way to identify the link – you have to scrape the description field, which defeats the whole point of the enterprise.

    I don’t know whether Atom addresses this, but it has for some reason been overlooked by the RSS community.

    For someone – like me – who wants to aggregate and create direct and easy access to the resources, it is a pain. Some of the blogdexes do it (probably by scraping) but none efficiently, and I haven’t seen anything that really puts the content of various resources together semantically.

    In the LO world we have the same problem, except now there are three options:

    1. Link goes directly to the LO

    2. Link goes to some metadata page or manifest describing the LO

    3. Link goes to a blog comment or some other third party reference to the LO

    We need a better approach. IMHO.

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