DZone RSS Tricks

Posted in Software Development, The Internet by Dan on July 31st, 2008

A comment from “Dmitryx” on DZone about how DZone could provide better options for filtering its “Popular Links” got me thinking about how Yahoo! Pipes (my new favourite toy) could be used to filter DZone RSS feeds in interesting ways.  Helpfully, DZone provides a lot of information in its RSS feeds including the number of votes for and against, the click count, the number of comments, the username of the submitter, the URL of a thumbnail image, a list of tags and more.  So if you want to go down the Pipes route, there are a lot of possibilities.

However, something else that is not immediately obvious is that DZone provides a lot of functionality of its own for filtering the feeds that it serves.  Most DZone users will be aware that they can subscribe to a feed of “Popular Links” (those that make it to the front page) or subscribe to the “New Links” feed (those that have recently been submitted and have not yet attracted enough votes to qualify for the front page).  The respective URLs for these feeds are:

But these two feeds are not the only ones available.  There are also feeds for each of the tags.  If, for example, you want to subscribe only to Python articles you would use one of the following feeds (again they are divided into “Popular” and “New” articles):

This is great if the articles you want neatly fit in to one of the 48 categories that DZone provides, but what if you want to restrict the feed to articles about Haskell, which doesn’t have its own tag (it is lumped together with Lisp, Erlang, Scala and the rest under the “Other Languages” tag)?  Fortunately DZone provides a solution for this as well.  You can create a feed for any search phrase.  A Haskell feed (for both new and popular links) has the following URL:

Kevin Pang has also discovered that you can provide query parameters to DZone’s feed URLs to manipulate the results (although DZone main man Rick Ross warns that these are not guaranteed to be supported in the future).

It’s not just topics that you can filter on.  You can also subscribe to a feed of links submitted by a particular user.  First you need to find out that user’s numeric ID (it’s part of the URL for their profile page), and then use that to construct the feed URL:<user_id>/rss.xml

Likewise for that user’s shared links:<user_id>/rss.xml

If these options alone aren’t enough, by using Yahoo! Pipes to combine, sort and filter multiple DZone feeds you should be able to tailor your subscription to match your interests precisely.