How to get a RSS feed working without direct access to the site
July 28, 2008 11:28 AM   Subscribe

How can I make an RSS feed from someone else's content?

A strange situation has come up where I need to take a "daily feature" page, with content that changes daily, and make an RSS feed out of it. The problem is, I don't have direct access to the site, as I've been tasked with a small side project (creating an auto-mailing list), and the main design team is busy working elsewhere. Is there a way to create a feed without access to the site - some kind of outside service?

One other option - there is some sort of RSS feed already serving this content, but it's PHP based, and coming up as invalid anywhere I try to convert it to XML. But if that could be converted to proper XML, that would also solve my problem.

Very strange, I know, but I appreciate any help.

The content page
The quazi-RSS feed
posted by razorfrog to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The feed seems fine to me or at least Google Reader had no problems subscribing to it. RSS is just an XML format so I'm not sure what you're trying to convert it to.
posted by junesix at 12:11 PM on July 28, 2008

That PHP RSS generator is setting the wrong Content-type header. It SHOULD be text/xml
posted by mkb at 12:22 PM on July 28, 2008

junesix, how many items do you see through Google Reader? In the source code there appear to be five items, but FF3 only displays one item and IE7 throws an error.

The person who wrote the .php made a whole bunch of mistakes that I can see - they didn't XML-encode ampersands in the URLs within the and tags, those CDATA sections will cause problems, and as you observe razorfrog the RSS structure is all messed up.

There isn't any way to automatically fix this. If you don't have access to change that .php page you would have to write code in whatever language you're familiar with to read in the output of that page, fix the mistakes in it, and redisplay it.

posted by XMLicious at 12:38 PM on July 28, 2008

Heh heh, that was ironic - that should be "...they didn't XML-encode ampersands in the URLs within the <link /> and <guid /> tags,"
posted by XMLicious at 12:39 PM on July 28, 2008

I'm not sure this is what you're looking for but Ponyfish is able to generate RSS feeds from external sources.
posted by kepano at 12:54 PM on July 28, 2008

I have used for this purpose before. It works really well for me, over probably 20 different sites.
posted by gemmy at 1:18 PM on July 28, 2008

The excellently named RSSPECT seems to do this.
posted by aubilenon at 2:03 PM on July 28, 2008

I've used Dapper for this kind of thing, but as others have already said... lots of other sources to do this with more complexity. Dapper is fairly simplistic but easy to use.
posted by chrisbucks at 6:03 PM on July 28, 2008

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