RSS parsing for the rest of us

12 February, 2005

One of the things that made me want to start this blog was the experience I recently had writing a guest post on Rory's blog. I got great feedback from a number of smart and interesting people and I can't wait to keep posting there.

The seed of my first post for him, about the need for an easier all-encompassing and idiot-proof system for putting content up on the web, was the difficulties I had trying to parse an RSS feed for use on my band's website. I had discovered this problem to be unsolvable without knowledge of php or above, i.e. only by pros or semi-pros.

Well, I recently found a solution to this problem that is exactly my speed: RSS Digest. In about two minutes, I got it set up to parse a feed of my pertinent posts for inclusion on the sidebar. All you've got to do is enter the RSS feed, enter some info about your website, edit the HTML that will style the feed, and then copy a one line Java Script into your site's HTML, and you're ready to go.

The particularly intriguing thing is the potential to run an entire website just using this to power the dynamic content. If I wanted, I could transfer this blog back over to blogger, design a static page with space for the posts and then use RSS Digest to parse the ATOM feed and poof, I've got a blog that I can style however I want. I'm liberated from Blogger's templates and I can take full advantage of whatever CSS and HTML skills I might have. Neat.

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