RSS and Blogs are basically two of the most important things that happened to the early Internet – World wide Web, in terms of interpersonal Communication.
RSS (originally RDF Site Summary; later, two competing approaches emerged, which used the backronyms Rich Site Summary and Really Simple Syndication respectively) is a web feed which allows users and applications to access updates to websites in a standardized, computer-readable format. These feeds can, for example, allow a user to keep track of many different websites in a single news aggregator. The news aggregator will automatically check the RSS feed for new content, allowing the list to be automatically passed from website to website or from website to user. This passing of content is called web syndication. Websites usually use RSS feeds to publish frequently updated information, such as blog entries, news headlines, or episodes of audio and video series. RSS is also used to distribute podcasts. An RSS document (called “feed”, “web feed”, or “channel”) includes full or summarized text, and metadata, like publishing date and author’s name.Wikipedia Rss
Basically a very basic text in XML format is released periodically from a website with RSS support – usually hourly.
One of my Projects from 2015/2016, as I was 17 or 18 years old, is based on this feature. Newssynd is an advanced Feed Aggregator. It accepts an array of websites in Json and checks these Websites periodically for Posts. It smartly parses the content of the XML – yes, regardless of the node structure and creates posts from the parsed data gotten from these websites. It also sorts the post in the most appropriate categories, using keywords from the results and gives a backlink to the post so users can continue reading. Furthermore, it checks for the News thumbnail, else it uses an image placeholder that is the first letter of the article’s title. It is worthy to mention that featured images are not also downloaded, that way you do not have to download any media and thus save a LOT of server space. You are basically just storing texts.
Newssynd was a top secret project of mine, in fact, I have never mentioned it on any of my Job applications, because I thought, RSS Syndication was illegal, until now, since it involved using (probably) copyrighted materials – fortunately it is not, since Newssynd does not store or copy any media file. It takes only a publicly shared excerpt and always provide a backlink to the original author. Thanks to some included Plugins, I used (listed below).
Initially, I wrote the code for Newssynd in 2016 but did not include it as a WordPress plugin module until late January 2020. Now Newssynd is capable of running on its own without user inputs and controls.
I will probably make it open-source in a few days, once I am done with my exams.
Find Newssynd in action here
One of the most appropriate applications of Newssynd is in Apps such as Smart News – where an Admin needs to fetch a lot of websites for content and display the most appropriate to the users.
Plugins and Libraries used include:
some are pre-intregrated, however you may have to include one on your website yourself
1. WordPress (of course).
2. SimplePie feed parser (Integrated)
3.Images from WP First Letter Avatar (Integrated)
4. Featured image by Url
5. WordPress Crontroll for managing WP cronjobs
Here are some screenshots