Phillip Pearson - web + electronics notes

tech notes and web hackery from a new zealander who was vaguely useful on the web back in 2002 (see: python community server, the blogging ecosystem, the new zealand coffee review, the internet topic exchange).


Experiment: constructing blogrolls from RSS

It seems that at least one person wants a blogroll tool that will display all their stuff together.

Here's a thought experiment: consider that a blogroll is a list of lists of links.

An RSS feed (or any of the various other types of feed) is a list of links, with extras (post contents, etc). So is the output from your news aggregator. In fact, the Topic Exchange, if you consider it as an aggregator, has an RSS feed which is exactly this.

So, we can make a blogroll out of lots of RSS feeds.

The code isn't difficult (as long as we use Mark Pilgrim's feed parser), so I've hacked up an example. Here it is:

    feed combiner

Some examples:

- the first 5 items from this blog and two others.

- the recent Topic Exchange posts.

- the 5 most recent comments on my blog, and also the recent Scripting News headlines.

Any service that outputs any of the current syndication formats will plug into this. So, if you want to see how your output will look when you put it inside your blogroll, try it out here.

I've included the code for a standalone version, so if you want to run it on your blog, grab that rather than calling my service, which is a bit slow at the moment and thus easily overloaded.
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Authenticated TrackBack?

I'm thinking about implementing private topic channels for the Topic Exchange, at the request of Thomas N. Burg. Right now you can create private channels, but they aren't so useful once created as you can't read RSS or send TrackBack pings to the channels without a browser cookie, so your aggregator and blogging tool won't be able to get to them.

Now, I know I can just use HTTP basic authentication on the RSS feed and aggregators like Radio will happily download it. What about the TrackBack? I don't know if MT or Radio or any blogging tools support authentication there. I guess I could hack it into the URL, so you'd post pings to something like:

... but that could cause config headaches.

If you are interested in getting authenticated TB to work, please drop me a line or leave a comment here.
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