RSS (Rich Site Summary); originally RDF Site Summary; often dubbed Really Simple Syndication, uses a family of standard web feed formats to publish frequently updated information: blog entries, news headlines, audio, video. An RSS document (called “feed”, “web feed”,or “channel”) includes full or summarized text, and metadata, like publishing date and author’s name.
RSS feeds enable publishers to syndicate data automatically. A standard XML file format ensures compatibility with many different machines/programs. RSS feeds also benefit users who want to receive timely updates from favourite websites or to aggregate data from many sites.
Which is why I want to add it to this site, and it is pretty damn irritating to me as a programmer that many unions have neglected this crucial communications channel.
Unions are an inherent part of the labour movement that we like to think that we’re helping and a part of*. It’d be nice if they did their bit to help us help them.
For a starter, does anyone know why the CTU doesn’t have a RSS feed? Surely it isn’t that hard to drop a RSS feeder into Drupal. The biggest hassle I remember was convincing it to turn off. And if the Labour party can do it, then I’m sure that CTU should be able to do so. Neither the SFWU nor Unite have a RSS either. But all is not lost – the EPMU and PPTA both have have RSS.
By this point in my search last night I was rather despairing of our unions public facing IT and gave up. So could all of you good unionists out there have a look at your favourite union sites and check their sites out.
To check if a site has RSS, the simplest way is to right-click and “View Page Source”. Don’t look at the HTML code. just do a Ctrl+F and search for RSS. If it isn’t on the front page then start cursing. The problem is that often custom written sites have their RSS feed hidden in some awful page away from the front of their site. So you have to start hacking around
If you can’t find a RSS feed, then feel free to complain to your favourite union that they really need to join the 21st century and could they please get off their arse and add one. It makes it feasible for other sites to highlight their words and they don’t need to be as muffled by media.
If they do have one, then give me a page URL and I’ll dig it out.
After cleaning up the issues with multiple servers and cron jobs on the weekend, I’ve now turned the feed back on for the sites that were turned off. Frankly Speaking and No Minister are back on the feeder. For some reason these two blogger sites kept getting duplicates jamming up our feed. Hopefully they won’t resume their discordant replicator habits. Someone tell Frank and Psycho if you see them.
The mana party feed is also online. It had some problems with something in the feed a while ago and kept failing. But it is now clean again.
While I’m on the subject of the feeds from political parties, those feeds from Labour and the Greens are starting to clog up the listing. It will only get worse. I’m thinking that I should tab them like I did with The Daily Blog and Scoop to make sure there is room for the slower posting sites. Ideas?
Does anyone else have other sites that they’d like feeds from. I’m uninterested in right wing and conspiracy sites. But the front feed is there to provide visual space for smaller slow posting sites so they don’t get overlooked. Suggestions?
Also on my list of things to do is to tell your browsers to remember which tab you last had open and to reload pages on that tab. This may help those people who have complained that tabbing The Daily Blog feed is annoying. Apparently they come here because it is easier to read the site from the feeder.
* Of course I’m not exactly a sterling example of a unionist. After all I’ve never been in a union because there never has been one for programmers. And when I was a manager (before I became an enlightened coder) – well there was no way that I was going to join National. But I feel that they are a crucial part of our economy, if only to stop all productivity gains dropping into the pockets of capital. And as parents and sister say (they were/are all managers), it is usually damn sight easier to argue with a few single union negotiators than it is to deal with scores of individual contracts.