Brad Smith (jesus_h_biscuit) wrote,
Brad Smith
jesus_h_biscuit

RSS/XML Feeds and how I make my news posts - AND YOU CAN TOO!!

Someone recently emailed me asking me about RSS/XML feeds and what I knew about them. On Web pages, RSS feeds are typically linked with an orange rectangle Image:livemark.png optionally with the letters XML Image:XML.gif or RSS Image:RSS.gif, for a start. I personally find RSS feeds very useful in making my news posts, and thought it might be useful to show how I do them and how you can do them as well if'n ya wants to.

I use the Mozilla Firefox browser, which I personally think is best. I hate IE, and Opera didn't do what I needed it to do, so Mozilla is my preference and I highly reccommend it. Plus, you have a ton of cool extensions & plugins [more] to customize your browser. I have a whole row of link buttons [partial screenshot] under the URL window that I have come to rely heavily upon, you can create them by highlighting the URL of the website you wish to have a button for, then clicking on it and dragging it to the toolbar. I don't like the text cluttering up the toolbar, so I always right-click on the button once it's in my toolbar, selecting "Properties", and deleting the text in the "Name" field so the button is smaller and I can fit more of them in the toolbar that way. So there's that.

To view RSS feeds, you need what is called an aggregator, which filters the feeds into your browser. My aggregator of choice is Sage. Once you have it downloaded and installed, there will be a little sage leaf icon in the upper right corner of the browser window [partial screenshot] that opens the Sage aggregator in the left half of your browser window. With the Sage reader open, go to any news website or blog and click on the Discover Feeds icon [partial screenshot] to search for feeds on that site. Highlight the ones you wish to add (hold the Control key and click on multiple selections), then click the Add Feed icon [partial screenshot] and you're done. Here's a full screenshot of the reader in use. Click on a site name from your collected feeds list and it filters out all the relevant info from the site. Click on a headline and you get the story you want to view in full. It's that simple.

I make my news posts using the follwing code (defined as a macro in my LJ Semagic client), feel free to use it if you like.

<font size="+1" color="#FF0000"><b>INSERT HEADLINE HERE
</b></font><blockquote style="border:1px solid gray;padding:10px 10px 10px 10px"><font size="-2" face="Georgia">
INSERT STORY BLURB HERE</font>


<a href="INSERT URL LINK HERE"  target="_blank">
<img src="http://pics.livejournal.com/angry_biscuit/pic/001071hx" border="0" 
ALIGN="RIGHT" VSPACE="2" hspace="5"></a></blockquote>
That's pretty much it. On my journal/blog, you'll find a huge blogroll list of blogs I read and news sites I frequent. Crooks & Liars and One Good Move are good sources of video, as well as screenshots. Have fun with this, I hope it is useful to some of you and that you make many news posts with this info.
Tags: how i make news posts
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