Rediscovering RSS

By Eric Lathrop on

I've recently rediscovered the joys of RSS thanks to a RSS reader called Miniflux. RSS lets you subscribe to websites and automatically get notified when new content is available. RSS is a pull technology, meaning you control how often you check for content, can unsubscribe whenever you want, and don't have to give any information to the content provider. RSS has the usability benefit of making it easy to consume lots of information from many places very quickly.

Here's a list of things you can use RSS for:

1. News

Probably the most common use-case is to subscribe to various news sites, like newspapers, local TV news, public radio news, magazines, comics and blogs.

2. YouTube

YouTube provides RSS feeds for the videos on an individual channel. YouTube also provides an unadvertised RSS feed in the form of:

https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?playlist_id=PLVcv-R1Q3gqpED53SHRUrUas8QmNxo4lQ

3. Reddit

Reddit is great for communities focused on niche topics, and they have RSS available for individual topics ("subreddits"). They also have unadvertised RSS feeds for any search query by adding a .rss suffix to the path like:

https://old.reddit.com/r/mechmarket/search.rss?q=flair%3Aartisan&restrict_sr=on&sort=new&t=all

4. GitHub Releases

If you want to stay up-to-date with various software releases, and the software is hosted on Microsoft's GitHub, you can navigate to the releases page for the project to find a RSS feed.

5. Steam game news

Steam's new News Hub has a RSS link right in the top-navigation for any game. You can also manipulate the URL to get an unadvertised feed for the Steam client itself:

https://store.steampowered.com/feeds/news/app/593110

6. eBay Searches

Trying to acquire a hard-to-find item on eBay? You can add &_rss=1 to any search URL to get an unadvertised RSS feed of listings for that search:

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=programming+socks&_sacat=0&LH_TitleDesc=0&_osacat=0&_odkw=bird&_rss=1

7. Twitter

Some content is only posted on mainstream social media like Twitter. While Twitter doesn't provide RSS feeds, Nitter, the privacy-focused Twitter frontend , does provide RSS feeds.

8. Others

Because many popular sites do not provide RSS feeds, several open-source projects have been built to scrape web sites and generate the missing feeds for you: