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Mashing up RSS feeds with Textpattern

Posted on by Clive Walker in Web Development Textpattern

I wrote this post a while back. The content can still be relevant but the information I've linked to may not be available.

Over the past few days, I have been investigating methods for combining RSS feeds from different sources and displaying the results. There are a number of examples that I have been looking at including adactio with his Lifestream and various scripts including SimplePie.

RSS parsing in Textpattern

In the end, I have settled on the bit_rss plug-in for Textpattern which will allow me to combine and display various RSS feeds on this blog [coming soon]. The bit_rss plug-in allows several other attributes to be set including the number of items, item order and the Textpattern form that is used to display the results.

Use with FeedDemon

FeedDemon There are several other potential uses, including the display of RSS articles from an RSS reader like FeedDemon. In this case, FeedDemon allows RSS items and other links to be stored in News Bins so that you can keep interesting articles; this is a bit like Bookmarks or Favorites in browser terms.

The key feature of any News Bin is that it can be shared as an RSS feed with a few clicks. It's then a simple matter to display the items using the bit_rss plug-in or another RSS parser script.

It's also possible to display excerpts for each item by combining the bit_rss plug-in with the Textpattern rss_auto_excerpt plug-in. However, not all feed items come with excerpts so article excerpt display may be less predictable in some cases. It's not a major problem if you don't mind the irregular results.

All in all, I'm pretty pleased with my first attempts at RSS feed parsing.

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  • 14 Jan 2010 06:20:43

    The continued development of plug-in bit_rss is the aks_rss plugin (based on bit_rss 0.4.1 by Bit Santos.)

  • 05 Aug 2010 10:03:45

    Have you found simple way to do a daily archive of your mashup pages? I’m seriously considering not using Textpattern for a site I’m working on so that I can have a cron job call a script that copies the mashup page into an archive folder and adds a link to it in an index page.

    Have you looked at Yahoo Pipes? It’s a really neat application for collecting together, merging, filtering and sorting RSS feeds into a single feed for your pages. The solution I’m working on uses this and Simple Pie to give me almost complete control over my mashup and the layout of the articles on the page.

    Cheers, Phil

  • 05 Aug 2010 10:46:57

    @Phil: I have not done much work with RSS mashups recently. I think you can run cron jobs within Textpattern using a plugin though. The aks_cron plugin might do what you want?

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