Saturday, May 4, 2002

RSS Distiller - A Must Have

One of the great things that Radio does is create an XML feed of this weblog. ( The XML version of this site is here.) Anyone who owns a copy of Radio can “subscribe” to this feed – Radio will monitor the XML file and anytime there is new content, it will display the new item(s) in the user’s News Aggregator page. This is one of many features that make Radio much more than a simple weblog publisher.

Other weblog software doesn’t incorporate RSS creation ( is the most notable to lack this functionality). So if you rely on Radio’s News Aggregator, you have no way to “subscribe” to other blogs.

RSS Distiller solves that. It’s a plug-in to Radio, and it can create RSS feeds of any automatically published site – weblogs are certainly the most obvious sites, but news sites are another. (Jenny will like this – I’ve created a feed for the Chicago Tribune front page. It took less than a minute.) This is a great tool that makes the Radio News Aggregator even more invaluable to my daily surfing.

A few caveats: if you subscribe to my rss feeds, note that if my copy of Radio isn’t running, you won’t get updates. I leave Radio running as long as my computer is on, but when I’m traveling it will likely be off. Also, if you want to use RSS Distiller on your own, you’ll need to know some basic HTML. It’s not difficult to use, but you’ll want to at least understand what the HTML tags are that you’re looking at in order to make Distiller really work.

Next up – creating RSS feeds for many blogs and news sources that I monitor frequently. This is going to get interesting.

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