cc licensed flickr image by yarnivore

As someone who cannot make bread, I have no right to toss this metaphor in the air, but who’s gonna stop me?

Yet I feel that using RSS, is simple in terms of ingredients (flour, water, yeast, and something to give it taste), and if you do know what you are doing, you can roll it, fold it, blend it into whatever shape you may need.

In this post, I’ll try and bake three ways to make the feeds rise, all wrapped in one web page.

The big piece of bread is a page I have kept going for some time that tries to track my presentations done each year, or as the dog barks, Best of Show, where the data for each year comes from RSS.


It has a simple menu that allows you to flip through by years, but as of today, I am using three different forms of RSS to power this (all the pages display using my own Feed2JS).

From 2003 to 2007 I did this the worst way possible; I wrote out RSS by hand, e.g. http://cogdogblog.com/wp-content/show/2006.xml.

I surely do not recommend this method. Blecchh. I did not mind it, but I kind of like raw RSS like some people like chewing on raw garlic.

For 2009, I’m getting wise, and have started tagging my stuff (since all of my presentations have some tracks on the web) in delicious using a double tag approach a tag of presentation for (doh) presentations and 2009 for the year, giving me a link and RSS.

This works well if I tag them as I go, which would get the dates right. Unfortunately, I started doing this in February, so my tagged sites are out of order (would be nice if delicious let me edit the date the tag was done). This is in the vein of the brilliant concept that John Udell outlines as using delicious as a database. It’s very simple, but by stacking tags you can organize and use web content in interesting ways.

I started to go back and do my presos for 2008, but caught myself before venturing down a un-necessary road. In my exploration of using different spaces to do blog-like things, I remembered that I had done as an example my 2008 presentations on a Google Map that nicely enough has an RSS feed, which I could just drop through Feed2JS.

In summary, I have rolled three different flavors of RSS- raw hand coded, Google Map generated, and delicious tag generated, into one whole loaf (or has it fallen?).

To make the dough mix into the final product, I have to use some special PHP bakeware. This page fits in with my blog, and does a simple, but magic trick to use the WordPress header, sidebar, and footer, in my custom PHP page.

It’s a matter of gutting a template to get to the basic parts:

To make it work, we have to do some stuff in the opening PHp section to sort out the variables we get via the web URL:

We need some logic in the main content to build a menu, and set the selection to a current value:

And then we have three different logic blocks to handle the three varieties of RSS.

If you really want to stick your hands in the dough, here is the entire code file.

I still can’t make bread, but I can sure kneed the RSS into beautiful pastries… or at least I think so.

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com 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)


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