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Wednesday, 16 February 2005


This is one seriously cool mash-up you've put together. I for one would be very interested to know the details of your Ruby script and Rails setup. If you feel like sharing, please post more details.

Bloglines web services are pretty basic. Here's some code showing how I retrieved entries from a particular folder (I had to run a different method to find the ID of my folder):

require 'net/http'
require "base64"
require "rexml/document"

# Bloglines info
my_id = 'erik@mockerybird.com'
my_pwd = 'my-password'
auth = "Basic " + ["#{my_id}:#{my_pwd}"].pack("m").strip

site = 'rpc.bloglines.com'
port = 80

req = Net::HTTP.new( site, port )
raw_xml = ""

d = Time.now.to_i - 86400
req.get( "/getitems?s=7138308&n=0&d=#{d}", 'Authorization' => auth ) do |r|
break unless r
raw_xml += r.to_s

Then I parse the XML using REXML::Document, and store the pieces I want in the database.

The Rails setup basically has a model for Entry that has a title, description, link, created_on, bloglines_id, and guid. I have one controller (front_controller) for displaying the entries, and another (report_controller) for building the daily and monthly reports. Is that what you wanted to know? I'd be glad to go into more detail if it would help... how new are you to Ruby and Rails?

This is great stuff Erik. For those of us who are either not developers or too lazy to put enough effort in to be developers (I think I fall into both camps), do you think the process you outlined above could be wrapped up into an easy-to-deploy 'web service'? Maybe this would need to be hosted in order to make it easy for people to use - it may even be a candidate for a Robot Co-op service? (ie host it on the Robots server). It's such a neat way to bundle a whole lot of content 'buckets' into one stream of content, that it would be really cool if lots of people could use it. Just an idea and I'm not sure how feasible or even desirable it is. Either way, your use of the Bloglines API is admirable.

Thanks Richard! I did think about making this a bit easier to share with others... the right solution didn't jump out at me but I think it would be a fun experiment. In a sense, bloglines is already doing all of the hosting necessary... it's just a matter of displaying what they have. The only problem is that the web service isn't always zippy, and therefore it's better to cache the results and only check every once in a while (he probably wouldn't like me hitting them on every page load anyway).

I'll think about it a bit more and see if there's some kind of answer. Kinja ( http://kinja.com ) is one possibility... they basically do the same thing, but after fiddling with them a bit I didn't quite like the way they excerpt everything.

Good one. It would also be a nice value-add for 43 Things - a way for people to add their 43 Things content into their weblogs. The killer value for users would be the ability to group *everything* though - blog, 43 Things, delicious, flickr, allconsuming, etc.

ps have you see what this guy is doing with Bloglines Web Services:

It's called Chameleon and there are some interesting personalisation featues he's managed to build.

Thanks for the specifics, and it's enough to know that I don't know enough of what you're doing to implement this on my own. I'm with Richard on the idea of making this into some kind of web service. It strikes me as a personal feed splicer, like FeedBurner on steroids with a bloggy front-end. The concept of a personal aggregator that looks like a web site is very appealing. You've sparked my curiosity greatly.

Hey. Do you have an updated copy of your NaNo report card? The copy I have gave a link to get an update, but the link turned up a dead end.


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