Creating a feed for websites that do not support RSS

0 0
Read Time:1 Minute, 44 Second

Rss_logo

I’m not sure if anyone else has shared my frustration at having come across a really useful or interesting website and then discovered there is no RSS facility to subscribe to subsequent updates. Clearly the author/owner of the website believes that their readers will bookmark the site and keep popping back to see if there are any changes.  Not very realistic when there are several billion websites out there.

There’s also the perennial issue of the (mainly public sector) websites that fail to support RSS, with an antiquated content management system (CMS) often cited as the problem.  Mash the state (http://www.mashthestate.org.uk/) clearly had some good intentions in embarrassing local councils into providing an RSS feed on their website, but with only 32% of councils with this facility at the last count – well short of their target of getting all council websites to support RSS – they may well have given up on this crusade (indeed the website hasn’t been updated since 2009)

Anyway, there is a solution (sort of) which I had completely forgotten about until recently when I was reconfiguring some feeds in my Google Reader. This lets you create a web feed for websites that do not have an RSS facility. It’s a bit coarse in that you can only monitor changes to a whole webpage (rather than – say – just monitoring news updates), but better than nothing.

To make a custom Google Reader feed, all you need to do is cut and paste the URL (the web address) of the page you want to monitor into the box you get when you click on the ‘Add a subscription’ button at the top left of the Google Reader page.

I’ve shown below the screen shots for the feed I’ve juts created for my local council Uttlesford  – not, I might add because I think they’ve got anything interesting to say, but you never know, they might read this and respond by providing a real RSS feed on their website. I can live in hope!

Google_reader_create_feed_1
Google_reader_create_feed_2


 

About Post Author

Stephen Dale

I’m a life-long learner with an insatiable curiosity about life. I love travel, good food, and good company. I’m happy to share what I know with others….even the interesting stuff! My outlook on life is pretty well captured in this quote from a book about the legend of King Arthur: “The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.” ― T.H. White, The Once and Future King So much to learn, so little time!
Happy
Happy
0 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %
Previous post Are Civil Servants made for Social Media?
Next post Online Information Conference 2010 – Call for Papers

Average Rating

5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%

2 thoughts on “Creating a feed for websites that do not support RSS

  1. Good stuff and fairly straightforward, but Yahoo Pipes can be much more powerful. I looked at a number of solutions for Lincoln Council’s RSS feeds (our CMS does not natively have RSS capabilities) and the auto generated ones were nowhere near as good as scraping the page content through pipes.

  2. I keep meaning to go check out Yahoo Pipes. I’ve read the intro blurb but not got my hands dirty. Sounds as if it gets over the problem I noted with Google Reader in that it can only work for a whole page content. Note to self: go check it out!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.