Now you can satisfy your appetite for information
This book is not about the minutia of RSS and Atom programming. It's about doing cool stuff with syndication feeds-making the technology give you exactly what you want the way you want. It's about building a feed aggregator and routing feeds to your e-mail or iPod, producing and hosting feeds, filtering, sifting, and blending them, and much more. Tan-talizing loose ends beg you to create more hacks the author hasn't thought up yet. Because if you can't have fun with the technology, what's the point?
A sampler platter of things you'll learn to do
- Build a simple feed aggregator
- Add feeds to your buddy list
- Tune into rich media feeds with BitTorrent
- Monitor system logs and events with feeds
- Scrape feeds from old-fashioned Web sites
- Reroute mailing lists into your aggregator
- Distill popular links from blogs
- Republish feed headlines on your Web site
- Extend feeds using calendar events and microformats
W Boudville (Terra, Sol 3)
The book is very logically arranged into 3 parts. For using feeds, making feeds and mixing feeds. Most readers will probably deal with the first part and maybe the third part.
Using feeds is explained as being able to aggregate data from websites offering these using RSS or Atom methods. From which, you can see how to recast the output into HTML pages for your website. Or maybe send it to your mailbox. Actually and more realistically, to the mailboxes of those who visit your website and ask for this feed.
Orchard deliberately does not go much into the fine distinctions between the different and incompatible RSS standards. Or likewise with the various Atom formats. More technical books can discuss these points ad nauseum. But Orchard is aiming this text at a programmer who just wants to put together a news feed, and does not really care about lower level details.
Making a news feed is the second part of the book. Only a fraction of readers will head here. It's not easy to produce original content, after all.
The last part of the book is essentially an advanced continuation of the first part. You are shown how to embed higher level logic into processing the feeds. With an extensive example on using a Bayesian to try to identify news articles that might be of interest to your readership. Be aware that the Bayesian method is not perfect. Occasionally, you might get an incongruous article.
Definitely, Orchard has produced a nice programming book. (In Python.)
Rather than just read RSS feeds, would you like to *do stuff* with RSS and Atom? I received a copy of a really good book that goes beyond the nuts and bolts of RSS formatting... Hacking RSS and Atom by Leslie M. Orchard.
Part 1 - Consuming Feeds: Getting Ready to Hack; Building a Simple Feed Aggregator; Routing Feeds to Your Email Inbox; Adding Feeds to Your Buddy List; Taking Your Feeds with You; Subscribing to Multimedia Content Feeds
Part 2 - Producing Feeds: Building a Simple Feed Producer; Taking the Edge Off Hosting Feeds; Scraping Web Sites to Produce Feeds; Monitoring Your Server with Feeds; Tracking Changes in Open Source Projects; Routing Your Email Inbox to Feeds; Web Services and Feeds
Part 3 - Remixing Feeds: Normalizing and Converting Feeds; Filtering and Sifting Feeds; Blending Feeds; Republishing Feeds; Extending Feeds
Part 4 - Implementing a Shared Feed Cache Index
This book starts with the assumption that you either already understand all the details of RSS/Atom formatting, or that you're willing to learn the details on your own as you go. This is *not* a reference book on RSS standards. Rather, Orchard answers the question "what can you *do* with RSS that's cool and useful?". Using a series of projects, he starts to get you thinking about how you might use RSS technology in ways you haven't considered. For instance, having your log files report things via RSS feed could give you immediate notice of unusual situations. Or perhaps having RSS feeds go to your IM client would allow you to react quickly to news and information. The possibilities are endless, and Orchard does a good job in getting you to think.
The caveat here is that he assumes a particular software language and platform for building these hacks. Python is the language used, so this book would be most helpful if you already knew the language (or were willing to figure it out on the fly). Likewise, he writes for the Unix platform primarily. You can use Unix emulators like Cygwin to run Unix-like command in Windows, or you can mentally adapt the concepts to whatever hack you want to build. At first I was thinking that single focus might be a liability for the book. But after thinking about it, I don't think it's that bad. It maintains the focus on the hack instead of on how every different platform needs to be coded, hence the book is more concise. Also, his goal is to get you to hack and experiment, not to teach you a technology via a tutorial. Since hacking is experimenting, you may end up hacking these ideas on a couple of different fronts...
Excellent idea and application book... If you're interested in going beyond simple feed readers and building stuff for yourself, this is a definite purchase you want to check out...