I have more things to write about than old web stuff few care about, but since this was something that started 20 years ago as some of my first blog posts… I can say for sure today that my long running Feed2JS service is no longer functioning.

Death has been declared a few times before, but now it’s definite. I have been rummaging around my first month’s blog posts I am fairly certain it was May 5, 2003 I first posted a PHP script that accepted input of an RSS Feed (future readers will have to ask some AI to tell them what that means) that dynamically inserted it into a web page (including Blackboard!) via Javascript. That first post mentions an RSS Parser I used called OnyxRSS. As the web worked back then, a few days later it’s developer ED Swindelles commented that he got a ping about something we later came to praise as “re-use”.

And the idea for this was not mine, but something I had seen David Carter-Tod (someone later I got to meet for dinner in his home in Blacksburg, Virginia) do on a Virginia Community College do to embed news feeds using an .ASP script. I just figured out how to replicate it with PHP, and over the years it became its own thing at https://feed2js.org with the first version known as rss2js running on an Apple Xserve at my office at the Maricopa Community Colleges. The source script has some history (D’Arcy Norman is first contributor).

The oldest version I find in the Wayback Machine is from October 2003.

The whole thing relied on an ancient library called MagpieRSS. In its working days, when it failed to return a result it was nearly always because of something in the feed that did not validate. But over the last few years, it failed more and more often, for other reasons that I cannot really diagnose. My own blog failed:

Every feed sent through Feed2JS will return this error. Nothing more can be done (by me).

A few weeks ago I was dabbling with another old web page and a the time, the fix I found was to run a feed through Feedburner e.g. my own blog gets “rinsed” there as https://feeds.feedburner.com/cogdogblog. It did work, but upon checking today to an issue reported, even that fails.

So it’s time to just bury Feed2JS. I had previously hosted it myself externally, then had generous offers from Aaron ?? and latest from a guy named Brian Teller who still has it running (I cannot even contact him any more) so cannot update the web site either!

The feed grinder has ground to a halt… The domain auto-renew is turned off so Feed2JS will vanish on June 23, 2023. There is even an untold story of a requested use I will share only with close friends, shhhhh.

Just more blogging about old web stuff. What else is there? Oh yes, the obligatory ask of ChatGPT asking, “What is the history of Feed2JS?”

Feed2JS is an open-source software tool that allows users to display RSS feeds on their websites. The tool was created by Alan Levine, a well-known educational technologist, in 2004.

At the time, there were few tools available for easily incorporating RSS feeds into websites. Levine created Feed2JS as a solution to this problem, making it possible for users to easily display feeds from external websites on their own sites without having to manually copy and paste content.

Feed2JS quickly gained popularity among bloggers and web developers, and it became one of the most widely used RSS display tools on the web. It was praised for its simplicity and ease of use, as well as its reliability and flexibility.

Over the years, Feed2JS has undergone several updates and revisions to keep up with changes in web technology and to address any bugs or issues that have arisen. It remains a popular tool for web developers and bloggers who want to incorporate RSS feeds into their sites, and it continues to be maintained by its creator and a dedicated community of users.

I guess ChatGPT is okay when it’s flatteringly accurate! I did ask, “was there an earlier version under a different name?” and it failed, well, sort of. I did not even remember a “Feed2JS Lite” (Google search leads my to guess it is stochastically parotting from un-related info from a MagpieRSS page):

To the best of my knowledge, there was not an earlier version of Feed2JS under a different name. However, Alan Levine did create another tool called Feed2JS Lite, which was a simplified version of the original Feed2JS tool. Feed2JS Lite was designed for users who only needed basic RSS feed display functionality and did not require the more advanced features of the full version of Feed2JS.

ChatGPT response to asking of history of Feed2JS… going into that flowering BS mode.

Thanks for all the feeds!

Featured Image: A bit of tombstone rewriting by me, a human being, in Photoshop from my own photograph– 2011/365/255 I’ve Been Here Since 1793 flickr photo by cogdogblog shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

A tilted old tombstone surrounded by grass in front of an red shingled building. One the stone is written-- Feed2JS, 2003-2023
If this kind of stuff has value, please support me by tossing a one time PayPal kibble or monthly on Patreon
Become a patron at Patreon!
Profile Picture for CogDog The Blog
An early 90s builder of web stuff 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) Tooting as @cogdog@cosocial.ca


  1. This is a sad day. I was a regular user of Feed2JS during your MCLI days (I was at an east coast institution).

    Back in those days, I was managing a classroom recording program where we participating faculty would record their classes and then give them to me for students to hear online at a later day. This was before iTunesU so I was uploading the files to a directory on a webserver and then editing the XML /RSS file so that files would be listed in Blackboard course shells via Feed2JS.

    I also used a few other of your tools such as the one that would live tweet my Keynote presentations as I presented them.

  2. A big thank you for Feed2JS! I used it on my school website at arborheights.com, and had it rolling out feeds on the school website when I had it on Wikispaces. Worked well in that environment, too. It was an exciting time to try out new technologies, esp in education. Not so today, boo.

    I saw your post here because I still follow your blog via rss. I remember being so unbelieving that nobody got rss, its potential, etc. Still baffles me. Oh well, thanks again for making a difference for many! Best – Mark

  3. The end of an era. It’s still limping along – I have a copy running on a subdomain of my own webspace so I didn’t burden the main server. Some sites still seem to work (my own RSS feed works, for some reason), while yours breaks it. Weird.

    Thanks for building it, and making it available. Feed2JS has been a huge part of the interconnected syndicated web for many many years.

  4. I’m still using it too, until it stops working for the one feed that I need it for (to feed into the dull, dull system that is Drupal).

    1. Thanks for this! They have a site with my code running, but I see the same problems with the feeds I wrote about here. I can’t see how the old code can work any more, the RSS parser library cannot do its job any more.

      Are you actually seeing feed content displayed? It’s interesting/curious they have just taken the code and not really credited Feed2JS (which pops up in other parts of their site), but alas, that’s what people just do.

      That’s the way the web bounces, I don’t see signs of life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *