Friday, August 11, 2006

Where oh where has the RSS Link gone on Google?

I am working on a php driven website that displays information about historical figures contained in a Filemaker Pro database. One of the features desired on this website is a list of links to other resources on the web about the figure that is selected. I created a table to contain the links with various fields to relate the links to the figures individually and by group but as the compilation of links would be quite time consuming, I decided that it would be better to embed an RSS feed generated by one of the search engines based on a specifically defined search criteria instead. This would automatically update itself as new resources appear on the web.

I had used a Google-search generated RSS feed in the past so when I went up on Google and performed a search and looked for the RSS feed link I was baffled when I couldn’t find it anymore. Thinking it was just late in the day and I was just somehow overlooking the link, I called JQ and we both hunted all over for it. JQ finally found an article indicating that the feature was removed some time ago. Apparently, Google (and Yahoo) both decided that they didn’t want you to be able to easily create this time saving feature – I’m assuming it’s because RSS feeds do not contain advertising. So, JQ and I set about searching for a work around.

JQ found a blogpost about a tool developed by Ben Hammersley called Google to RSS. I found a tool developed by ResearchBuzz that will create a feed from several different search engines including special science and math search engines called Kebberfegg. Kebberfegg is a tool to help you generate large sets of keyword-based RSS feeds at one time..

With one search you can generate an RSS feed for:

Scientific and Medical: Hubmed, CiteuLike, Connotea, CounsellingResource.com

Multimedia: BigFeeder, Del.icio.us Audio, Del.icio.us Video, BlogDigger Audio, BlogDigger Video and Image, Buzznet, Flickr, Blinkx TV

News: BBC, NewsisFree, FeedsFarm, Google News, IceRocket News, NewsTrove News, RocketNews, Topix.net, FindArticles, Wired, Findory, Yahoo News, MSN News

Press Release Wires: MarketWire and PRWeb via FeedFindings, PR Newswire via Google News, Business Wire via Google News

Tags and Site Submissions: Digg, Del.Icio.Us, IceRocket Tags, Technorati Tags, RawSugar, Ma.gnolia

Technology: PHPDeveloper, Etamp

Web Search Engines: MSN, IceRocket

Weblog Search Engines: Blogdigger, Daypop, Feedster, Google Blog, IceRocket Blog, Findory Blog, RocketNews Blog, Blogpulse, Yahoo Blog Search, Sphere

Other: 43 Places

I decided to use the tool from ResearchBuzz then take the feed it generates and paste it into RSS to Javascript's tool:

http://www.rss-to-javascript.com/p/138.html

and paste the resulting snippet of code in a text field in my database. Then I assigned a Php variable to that text field and call it within my PhP page. Too bad I can't rely on people to have the newest browsers that can display RSS feeds directly but I think that would be too optimistic at this point.

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