08 RSS Lab exercises


Your goal today is to find feeds for your term project.

Finish last class

  1. Finish the exercises from last class. There's a couple more general things that I want you to do after you finish those exercises but before you start today's activities.
  2. Go to your bloglines account.
  3. Use the “search” field to search for posts on some particular topic. When you define the search just how you want it, you can subscribe to this search so that you're notified when new posts on this topic are made.
    1. In the right panel should be “Home > My Feeds” with a list of things you can do at the site.
    2. Scroll down to “What interests you?”.
    3. Click on “Track future web articles by creating a search subscription”
    4. Enter the search that you want to track.
  4. Use the tools in Technorati (and other searchable feed databases — see bottom of page) to easily find more popular blogs that you might want to add to your feed list.
  5. Be sure to investigate Blogpulse and Iterend. These are both good tools (in different ways) for following developing stories.

Searchable subject indices

  1. Now, you're going to explore the searchable subject indices of RSS feeds.
  2. You're going to browse Syndic8.
    • Browse, search, and add any feeds for your project that look useful.
  3. Now you're going to try the NewsIsFree site.
    • Browse, search, and add any feeds for your project that look useful.
  4. Next up is the RSS Network site.
    • Browse, search, and add any feeds for your project that look useful.
  5. Next, you're going to use the Yahoo Search Directory.
    • You can subscribe to updates to a specific category within the Yahoo Directory. Do so if you would find this useful.

Sharing your list of RSS feeds (blogroll)

  1. Go to your Bloglines account.
  2. Get it so that your feeds on listed on the left.
  3. At the top of the panel on the left, click on “Options”.
  4. Click on “Blog Settings” at the top.
  5. For “Show my Blogroll” (not Blog), ensure that the radio button for “Yes, publish my Blogroll” is selected.
  6. Click on “Save changes” at the bottom.
  7. At the bottom of the panel on the left, click on the “Share” link.
  8. Notice the bold URL under “/public” near the bottom of the right panel. This is the URL that you can give to people to share your list of RSS feeds.
    • You should create a menu choice in your wiki that points to this URL (with your public blogroll).
  9. Make sure your bloglines username is in the username field, and then put _top in the “Link Target” field.
  10. Click on the “Generate HTML” button.
  11. Note the second link of code that begins with http://rpc. Call this whole line the RPC URL.

Now that you have the RPC URL, you need to get the blogroll into your wiki. What you would like to do is to insert a script tag within your page, but wikidot does not yet support inserting a bloglines blogroll. Thus, what we're going to have to do is to create a Web page on your personal Web site (at umich.edu), put your blogroll on that page, and then insert that page (from your personal Web site) into your wikidot site. It's too complicated, but we'll see if we can do it.

Create a text file on your local computer called blogroll.html with the following content (use NotePad, not Word — it needs to be plain text!) and save the file in C:\TEMP:

<head><title>Bloglines Blogroll</title></head>
<script language="javascript" type="text/javascript" src="http://rpc.bloglines.com/blogroll?id=samoore&target=_top"></script> 
  1. Log on to your MFile space.
  2. You should already have Public/html directories. Navigate to within them if you do. Talk to me if you don't.
  3. Create a folder named bit330f08 within this folder.
  4. Upload the file you just created into bit330f08.
  5. Verify that you can see this file in your browser: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~UNIQNAME/bit330f08/blogroll.html
  6. If you can see the file, then continue. If you can't, then talk with me.
  7. Go to your wiki and create a page called blogroll. The contents should be the following (be sure that you change UNIQNAME to your uniqname.
[[iframe http://www-personal.umich.edu/~UNIQNAME/bit330f08/blogroll.html scrolling="yes" frameborder="0" border="0" width="30%" height="420px" style="face: Arial; font-size: 10pt;"]]

Once you have saved this page, your blogroll should appear.

Exporting and importing lists of feeds

  1. After you have subscribed to a few feeds, I want you to work through the process of exporting your links and then importing them into another feed reader.
    1. Go to your Bloglines page.
    2. Ensure that your feeds are listed on the left side of the page.
    3. About 3/4 of the way below “Additional Features” in the left panel you should see “Export subscriptions”. Click on it and save the file to someplace that you will be able to access after you leave this class.
  2. Go to Google Reader and log on.
    1. In the left pane, at the very bottom is a button “Manage subscriptions”; click on it.
    2. In the colored bar near the top of the window, click on the “Import/export” tab.
    3. Within this tab load the OPML file.
    4. View the subscriptions within this reader.
    5. Go back to “Manage subscriptions” and the “Goodies” tab. Read through it and see if there's anything of interest; think how you might use it within the context of being an analyst and keeping up with a company or industry segment.


Searchable subject indices of RSS feeds (with browsing)

  1. Yahoo Directory — RSS feeds of updates to specific Yahoo Directory categories
  2. Syndic8 — a directory of RSS feeds
  3. NewsIsFree — directory of RSS feeds
  4. RSS Network
  5. Financial Investing RSS feeds

Searchable RSS feed databases

  1. Bloglines Search
  2. Technorati
  3. Google Blog Search
  4. NewsIsFree
  5. Blogs.com
  6. Iterend
  7. Blogpulse
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