The FeedWind widget is a handy way to add some interesting information in a real time feed through RSS or Atom. This widget is also customizable and in addition to the appearance of the widget, by adding a custom CSS. In a similar way, the actual feeds that are received and displayed through the FeedWind widget can also be modified and filtered to create an original feed in a way that perhaps will not be available elsewhere. Aggregating RSS feeds means you can display the latest on a topic (broad or narrow) by choosing the best feeds and using any one of a number of aggregating and filtering services to deliver a single URL for your feed.
There are a number of ways in which an RSS feed can be modified and filtered to create an original output. The basis of filtering RSS is the use of an application or ‘meme trackers” but the easiest way is to use keyword filtering services. There are a number of these including:
This is a totally free service which allows you sign up in a few moments and add one or more feed URL’s which then creates an entry in the list below of those feeds. Next to each is a “set up rules” button which allows you to enter filter details. Once you have created all these you will see an RSS icon next to the channel in the “your channels” tab. This can then be used in the FeedWind widget RSS URL.
FilterMy is a basic RSS filter that requires the entry of the RSS URL, and keywords ton include/exclude. Selecting the Description/Title/Category will apply the filter to the appropriate element of the feed. Pressing a button is all it takes to get a new URL for the filtered feed with the result URL displayed on the page.
One of the simpler solutions to filtering your RSS feed is FeedSifter. This handy little online app allows you to simply enter an RSS input URL and a list of keywords. Hitting the “Filter my Feed” button presents a simple location to get the filtered results from.
This is the ultimate in RSS feed aggregation with extensive options that allow the intricate filtering and modification and subsequent amalgamation of these into a single output. This paves the way for a huge amount of customization of the content to make it align with the website that it appears on. For example, multiple feeds from various sports feeds could be aggregated and filtered so that only baseball related items would appear.
The imagination is the only limit to how Yahoo Pipes can be used to create rich feeds that focus carefully on a particular niche. To get the new filtered link, the user simply select the save button in Yahoo Pipes, and give the pipe a name/description etc. and then hit the “Run Pipe” link.
If you press OK and do not run the pipe, you will not get a link. If you need to after it has been saved, clicking the “Properties” button shows the same link for running the pipe and the desktop has this link just above the work area.
The RSS feed URL is available in Yahoo Pipes and is accessed by right-clicking on the RSS feed button and copying the link address. Be careful that the “pipe web address” the URL at the top is just a URL for the pipe not for the output. This is the URL you need for FeedWind.
To use these RSS feeds within FeedWind, the user simply paste the code that refers to the RSS feed by into the FeedWind Settings. You will get an example of how the feed looks in a preview directly above the code on the FeedWind Setup page.
Which of these RSS filtering utilities is chosen will be up to the user and should be selected based on which one satisfies the developer’s need. The Yahoo solution can be used in a simple way but is definitely designed for the heavy duty user who needs to be able to create specialized RSS feeds.
The results from Yahoo Pipes can be used very constructively to provide support for many types of websites, especially ecommerce sites where products can be filter-selected from multiple RSS feed and displayed onsite to maximize conversions. After any other settings have been selected, the HTML can then be copied from the box that contains the final code and pasted into a web page, widget area etc.
There are many uses for filtering beyond the need to simply align RSS feed with the subject matter of the site. Filters can be nested and built up into very formidable data parsing mechanisms that can really make a difference to a site usability and appeal to the user – not to mention increase sales and reader engagement. If you think your site could do with something to enhance its appeal – market better targeted products to consumers or just offer your users more from the website, not only is adding RSS feeds using FeedWind a good option, using the free filtering mechanisms available online really maximizes the potential that FeedWind RSS offers! Try it out yourself; once you get familiar enough to use Yahoo pipes, a whole new world of online information can be made available on your site. Be creative and you could provide that unique service that sets your site apart and people keep coming back for!