A little fun with RSS

In a bit of experimentation, I’ve been thinking about ways to improve the way a certain popular web platform plays with the services I utilise. So, today I began playing with two new toys: FeedBurner and Yahoo! Pipes.

Feed burner offers a bit better control over ones RSS feeds, than most web services that I’ve encountered do; in particular, much better than both Live Journal and Blogger. For what it’s worth, I’ve converted my blogger feed over to the burner, allowing me to trivially add a few things to the feeds without disturbing any existing subscribers. The main difference, is now I can tweak things for stuff that I feed my journals RSS into, hehehe.

One downside of FeedBurner, is that its ability to merge feeds with the “Link Spicer” feature is quite limited. In particular, it’s little value beyond a limited set of common services. Enter Yahoo! Pipes: using it, I was able to (trivially) munge together several of my service feeds into a singular one, e.g. combing several photo album steams into one pipe. I’ve created several feeds, that I doubt anyone will be interested in; but allow me to route selected information sources into RSS aware entities.

Although Really Simple Syndication has been around for more or less, a solid decade: few people understand it’s true value. Properly managed, web feeds whether built on RSS or not, can achieve part of that interoperability that certain keyword jugglers puddle about with XML, and it’s been here for years. If you want to cram steams of data somewhere, odds are you should be looking to see if some type of web feed will fit the bill, rather then throwing together yet another obscure XML format to juggle. Bonus points include that decent libraries are already available, which can save some time and make easier to read web app code later ^_^.