Ming the Mechanic:
Syndication

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Syndication2002-02-11 14:15
17 comments
pictureby Flemming Funch

Most of the weekend I was working on syndication features for the news logs. It is not fully ready to go for anything other than the news that show on the ncn public home page, but since it is probably a new idea to many, I'll better start explaining some of the ideas. The thing is that there are simple standards that are very useful for creating news feeds that can be picked up elsewhere on the net. Specifically, there's a standard that Nescape originally developed to create "channels", which is called RSS (Rich Site Summary). What it particularly is useful for is allowing sites with newslogs, weblogs, blogs, or anything like it, or regular news sites, to provide a list of the 10 most recent items they have. That forms a channel. That channel can be picked up by special aggregator sites, which gather news from many different sources, or it can picked up by programs that one can run on one's desktop, or another site can pick up the most recent items from a news site, and use that as a dynamic component of their own site.

As an example of the latter possibility, look at this box which could appear on other sites, and which would always show the 10 most recent postings on the public NCN news log. If one clicks on any of them, one goes to the NCN site to read them.

As a glimpse into how many news channels are out there, look at a site like weblogs.com. Most of what you see there are links into programs similar to this news log.

As an example of a news aggregator, look at O'Reilly's Meerkat service. That's for technical stuff, but could set up with any kind of focus. It pulls in news from many different sources, like our combined news log, but in this case it is from many different servers, running many different kinds of programs.

As to programs you can run on your desktop, check out this list. I'm trying out FeedReader, which works very nicely.You can customize it with any channels you want, like the NCN news, and it will keep updating itself with the latest postings.

Anyway, my plan is that any public news log can be syndicated in the same way, if the owner wishes it. And I'll probaly also make a simple aggregator, which can pull in news channels from other places.

For anybody with a website, who's technically inclined, you can check out this page on how specifically to syndicate the NCN news.


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17 comments

11 Feb 2002 @ 14:54 by jazzolog : For the Bye
All of that is extremely important and I am grateful for it. However, I have great concerns for the internal happenings and I shall continue to express my newslog only for those of us inside.  


11 Feb 2002 @ 16:53 by ming : Inside / Outside
Yeah, this kind of thing has to be optional, of course, as we might have very different reasons for having a news log. Some people post news items, picked out of public news sources, and of course there shouldn't be much reason not to share those further. Some people post about their life and thoughts. Maybe they prefer their intimate thoughts to stay amongst known friends here, or maybe they don't care who's looking in. And some people post about our ongoing process here in the NCN member area. And that would of course be rather confusing for anybody on the outside to look at, since they aren't here and don't know what and who we refer to.  


11 Feb 2002 @ 19:14 by mmmark : From Scratch
Ming - I propose you might want o link arms and start thinking about NCN as something different than what you are working on, or at least make a concise statement that lets members know what that goal(s) is. Then we can support you and not take your valuable time to justify your reasoning. This "News Log" thing to me should not be a "News" log - but just a personal log. I believe this why they are the most popular part of the site, at least in recent months. You mentioned a vision to me last Fall that indicated to me that you were shooting for something else. Let us dialogue that.  


11 Feb 2002 @ 22:44 by ming : Tools
Well, it is easy to mix up the tools with what they're used for. Here, in the NCN member area, personal logs are a popular and successful feature. But it is based on a software module, and I'm its programmer. The software module is being used for quite different things on other sites. Anyway, while I'm wearing the programmer hat I need to think about algorithms and functions and interfaces and protocols. Although I try to wear several hats, that's a quite different way of thinking than when I think about what to call different sections and how to create the right atmosphere. But, yes, I'd love for some more programmers to show up, so I don't have to keep being the one doing all the plumbing here.  


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