Personal blogging by Steph Gray, former digital agency founder and erstwhile bureaucrat

24tips Christmas bonus: build RSS feeds from any listing

25 Dec: Happy Christmas! Here’s a little get-it-while-you-can Christmas bonus tip.

Even in this day and age, plenty of sites don’t make it easy to grab RSS feeds of listings of news, articles, speeches, publications, consultations or whatever. The creators of Dapper decided this was a shame, and built a neat little app to enable you to build your own RSS feeds from other people’s published content, making the scraping process as easy as point and click. It was so neat, they sold to Yahoo who turned it into something completely different, but left a backdoor to the technology at


You can browse feeds others have built, or create your own, specifying a page or pages, and highlighting parts of those listings that should map to the title, description and date items within an RSS feed. It’s clever, but not foolproof, and depends on the listings being fairly clean in their own right, but if luck is on your side, you can have a functioning RSS feed set up and embedded on your Netvibes dashboard, WordPress blog or corporate site widget within 10 minutes.

If there’s a glimmer of hope for its future given Yahoo’s approach to innovative startups with neat technology that it has acquired, it’s that Dapper is a great fit with Yahoo Pipes, as well as claiming to have some commercial application, so fingers crossed it will still be here next year.

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