Recursive RSS feeds

August 7th, 2006 by Strawp

RSS is ace at what it does. It takes the thought out of syndication formats and countless applications support it. The thing is, as far as keeping track of all those feeds go, I’ve got my work PC, my home desktop, a laptop, a podcast aggregator and a bittorrent client aggregating vidcast feeds and TV shows from all over the ‘net. To make matters worse, as soon as I think that I’ve finally remembered which feeds I’m subscribed to and I’ve got them all subscribed in the various places that they’re needed, I see another one I need and they’re all out of sync again.

What I need is an RSS feed *for* my RSS feeds.

Someone has already thought of this, and come up with an XML schema called OPML, sadly it doesn’t seem widely supported either as a data source or by aggregator applications, plus it doesn’t seem all that well designed. Why have a feed of RSS feeds, which is effectively a two-level hierarchy when you could have n-depth and describe any number of feeds-within-a-feed and have just one point of subscription in your clients.

Anyway, until that happens I’ve come up with my own personal stop-gap solution. Using del.icio.us I track which feeds I’m subscribed to. I can then subscribe to the RSS for that page, and any time I pick up a new feed I can add it to the list and the addition will be mirrored in all the applications which are subscribed to it.

Of course, using tags you can slice those feeds any way you want, depending on what the feed is used for, for example I’ve got my podcasts, news and videos which are used by three seperate applications.

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