electronic.alchemy :: A more useful RSS application
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A more useful RSS application

Created by hww3. Last updated by hww3, 16 years ago. Version #4.

I'll go on record as saying that RSS has some very useful applications. However, I think that a lot of people are focusing on the wrong way to use it. There's a lot to be said for the ability to share and present information that may be interesting across multiple applications, such as this site, which uses RSS as a means of displaying my recent SmugMug albums, or listing recent checkins to my CVS repository. However, a large segment of RSS usage is based around the idea of getting all of your favorite news items delivered to you in one place.

Approaching RSS from that angle, http://helicopter.geek.nz has been working on what could be an incredibly useful tool for RSS, called http://helicopter.geek.nz/feedbox. It's based on the (arguably very accurate) notion that we don't need yet another application just for the purpose of reading RSS feeds. I find the whole idea of having a whole application (or even a separate "mode", as in the case of Safari, just so I can keep up with RSS feeds I find interesting is counter productive. James quite rightly points out that you should be able to get all of the feed items delivered directly to you via email, which you can then read at your leisure.

Written in Pike and based on a number of modules I had a hand in writing, feedbox is designed to be run periodically from a crontab or such. I played around with a prerelease version, and it works pretty well, delivering emails to you as RSS feeds are updated. The only drawback I can see is that you get a separate email for each item in an RSS Channel. If you subscribe to a lot of active feeds, that could get overwhelming. I'm sure eventually there will be an aggregation option for lumping several items together.

All in all, a pretty cool idea, and one who's time has come. Nice work, James!

Posted in pike | RSS Feed | BackLinks

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