We’ve put up a new experimental service to help you create RSS feeds for sites which do not offer their own.

The idea is that you give it the web page URL which contains the links you’re interested in, and one or more clues to help us find and return the correct links. (This is a simple tool at this stage, so it does not try to guess the appropriate set of links to use in the feed. We may play around with something like that at a later time.)

Example: Extracting links from a web page

In this example we’ll use the articles page on John Pilger’s website. It already offers a feed, so there’s no reason to create one with this tool, but we’ll use it as an example anyway.

On our create feed page, enter the following information and click ‘Create Feed’:

URL: http://johnpilger.com/articles
Extract URLs containing: /articles/

The first field asks for the URL of the web page which contains the links we’re interested in. We’re not interested in all links on this page, e.g. navigation links, so the next field allows us to enter a string that must appear in a URL if it is to be extracted. It so happens that all the article URLs on this website contain the path segment /articles/, so that’s what we enter in the second field.

There is also a third field, not used in this example, which allows us to narrow the search to HTML elements which contain the class or id attribute value we supply.

The resulting URL you see in your browser’s address bar can be used like any other feed - you can subscribe to it in your news reader, or any other tool which takes RSS as input.

If you followed the example above, the URL would be http://createfeed.fivefilters.org/extract.php?url=johnpilger.com%2Farticles&url_contains=%2Farticles%2F

Create a static feed from list of URLs

Finally, you can also create a static feed with your own set of URLs. Simply paste the URLs, one per line, into the form and click 'Create Feed’. We’ll return that list as a simple, static RSS feed. There’s no extra processing here, so you won’t get item titles or anything else in the output. You can now copy the URL shown in your browser’s address bar and use it to create a PDF Newspaper or convert it to a fuller feed, with titles and content, using Full-Text RSS.

Any feedback appreciated.