As a Public Service, Let Me Repeat that RSS Rocks

As a Public Service, Let Me Repeat that RSS Rocks

I am an idiot. I have been a mad RSS fan for years … I’ve used it to get access to the things I want to read for so long I’ve forgotten what it means to really “surf” the web. RSS Enclosures got me excited from day one, but I have never really grasped what so many others have gotten for far too long — that RSS is pure content. I somehow missed the notion that RSS can provide more than my reader with reusable content — anything in that feed can be used anywhere else.

A couple of weeks ago I watched a screencast by Brian Lamb that gave me the RSS ah-ha moment I had been missing … he showed how simple it is to reuse content across sites from RSS. He used Allan Levine’s Feed2JS site to take a feed and return a simple javascript to allow me to embed that any other place on the web. It seems so simple, but it took watching the screencast to really grasp it. I probably showed that screencast and the resulting technique to 20 people in the last 2-3 weeks … it got me thinking about another little thing that we’ve been talking about for quite some time.

With the Blogs at Penn State pilot fully underway, we wanted a way to easily pull together all the blogs from ETS and display them as a meta blog — a staff perspectives site so to speak. I didn’t want to have to install another tool on one of our servers, I just wanted an easy way to make it all go. Enter Google Reader and its ability to share any content as a meta blog that you have in a tag. So, in Brian Lamb style, I threw together a very quick and dirty screencast showing how to use Google Reader to organize and share a mashed-up meta blog of content under a single tag. Once you start to see how this works, the ability to leverage the XML content of any feed becomes immediately obvious. We actually spent a bunch of time talking about it in the ETS Talk Podcast 24 a couple of weeks ago.

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5 thoughts on “As a Public Service, Let Me Repeat that RSS Rocks

  1. I used Feed2JS for many many years. I thought he took that down a year ago. If you know Allan Levine(saw you were at Maricopa) please thank him for me! It was a great thing to have my friends blogs show up on my site.

  2. I think he did take the old version down that was hosted at Maricopa and put it up at its own site. Allan is great guy and a real leader … he is now putting his paw prints all over the NMC.

  3. I don’t have anything pithy to contribute – all I can say is “way cool.” RSS does indeed rock, and this is a powerful demonstration of it’s power.

    So how do we take advantage of all of this in ITS? I guess step one is getting more people to contribute – right?

  4. i am VERY excited about this use of RSS! the next step for me would be to take that meta-blog page and have it show in a widget or portion of a home page for a website. thanks for the video, super helpful!

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