Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Google Sites: 3 Tips for Blending RSS Feeds

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A fellow Google Certified Teacher asked the following:
I want to embed an RSS gadget in a Google Sites page in order to display a number of latest entries from that source.  I've struggled in the past to find a really convincing RSS gadget which Google supports: ideally I want something anonymous (i.e. no fancy graphical border or presentation elements) and which is public: i.e. does not require user login.  Does anybody have any good suggestions? My ideal gadget/service would be something that combined different sources into a single stream
My initial response included using Eric Z.'s RSS_Feed gadget (in Google Sites, INSERT GADGET) to enable the RSS feed to appear embedded in a Sites wiki page. He expressed a concern that he wanted to blend in more than just one RSS feed using the gadget.

TIP #1 - BLEND FEEDS TOGETHER WITH RSS MIXER
However, an easier approach exists. Use an RSS Mixer--freely available--to accomplish the task!

Use RSSMix to Combine Feeds into One Massive Feed (I like this option)

This option is pretty easy to use...you simply paste in your RSS feeds, one per line, then click CREATE. Once you do that, you'll be given a new RSS feed you can easily share with other folks via RSS_Feed.



Here's what the New RSS feed looks like in my aggregator:


A suggestion...keep all your RSS feed addresses in a text file so you can easily rebuild them at will.



TIP #2 - GOOGLE READER PUBLIC PAGE WITH ATOM FEED
Another suggestion by Kern Kelley goes as follows:
An easy way I've found to combine multiple RSS feeds into one, is tag a shared folder in Google Reader and make it public. It basically takes all the feeds you send to it and kicks out a single feed. This can be sent to widgetbox or your the gadget of choice.
Ok, some screenshots to "flesh out" Kern's suggestion:

1) Go to your Google Reader Settings and navigate to the screen that looks like this one:

Notice that second folder--SHARE THIS--second from the bottom of the list? Once you've made that PUBLIC (just click on private to switch it), you have access to the "VIEW PUBLIC PAGE". It looks like this...notice the ATOM FEED link in the top right corner of the page...that's the RSS feed you'll want to grab.

And, that's that. Drop that Atom Feed into your RSS_Feed gadget and voila! A blended feed, as Kern points out.

TIP #3 - SOCIAL BOOKMARKING RSS FEED
Another possibility that comes to mind, albeit a bit more "manual," is to bookmark items using your social bookmarking tool of choice (e.g. Delicious) then feed that RSS feed into your RSS_Feed gadget in Google Sites. It's not as automatic, but it allows you be more deliberate about what people see.

Notice the RSS feed that appears at the bottom of the screenshot:

You can drop that RSS feed anywhere...and everytime you tag an item--in this example, "GoogleApps" is the tag--it will appear wherever you "fed" that RSS feed.


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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure