RSS feeds pt. 3

(as always if you’re reading this from the main page or rss feed you have to click on the “read more” link or the title to view the videos or pics)
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so now for the final installment of the “RSS feeds” tutorial. (part 1 and 2 can be found here and here). as mentioned in a previous entry i’ve upgraded to the new Mac OS X Leopard (10.5) since i began this tutorial so some of the screenshots may not look the same since i took the screenshots before upgrading. but it should look similar enough.

so one of the “goodies” that i said i would cover in this post is the ability to search your rss feeds for something specific. now it may not be that useful in a “blog feeds” page where everyone is writing about various topics and stories of their lives. but i guess you could search for a name or place or event and see how many posts people have been writing about it.

where it becomes really useful is in a “news feed” page.


say you heard something about new ipods being announced and you wanted to get the lowdown about everything being said and whether you’ll need to update your Christmas list or not. then you could search your “news feeds” for ipod. and it will display only the articles that mention “ipod”. you could even narrow it even more by searching for “ipod price” and it will only find articles that list those two words.

shown in the picture below are other nifty things that can be done including being able to see at a glance once on the rss page how many feeds are new and how many total you have. (the total is the total number within the time limit set in the preference pane)

change the article length. shorter will only show titles of the articles, longer most times will list the entire article.

sorting by date, title, or source, or simply have all new articles at the top of the page. and/or within a given time frame.



this is the preference menu:


pretty self explanatory here. one of the main changes from the previous preference pane is that now it only has a check mark box for “highlight[ing] unread articles”. so it will now show a blue dot in front of the title and have a very light blue hue in the background of the article. before i think it was much easier because you could specify a color for the article titles to be. as seen in this picture below. the new one on top and the previous one below.

new method:

previous method:


so now for the disadvantages:
the only disadvantages that i can think of are that sometimes you can’t always see all of the pictures or video that are placed in the original article such as on this blog if you read it from an rss feed. it varies from site to site. some sites do show the pictures and some do not. it depends on how the software used by the writer actually writes the rss code.

another disadvantage is that you can’t see new comments that are left on a particular article or even if new comments have been left. (although this may be an advantage if you don’t want to be updated on sites that have up to 100 or more comments per news article) i have noticed some site do now have separate rss links just for the comments on an article or post so you can keep up with comments if you really want to.

the last disadvantage that i see is that you don’t get to see design effort that writer or web page designer intended for the post/page. this isn’t a problem for a most commercial sites where most where i’d rather not see the ads and flashing buttons. but for some sites like this one linked here and shown below. the design is an important part of the article itself.



so there you have it RSS in a nutshell. or 3 nutshells since i posted three different articles. i’d love to hear if you’ve learned anything from this series in the comments section.