Socialtext Documentation
RSS Tutorial: Revision 2

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What is RSS?

RSS allows you to subscribe to many weblogs and published news sources and have the content pulled to you automatically, so you don't need to go to multiple websites. RSS stands for Rich Site Syndication or Really Simple Syndication.

Why use RSS with Socialtext?

RSS notifies you of the latest updates in private projects and conversations, as well as public news sources, without contributing to your overloaded email inbox.

Why else use RSS?

Weblogs are an amazing source of open content and conversation on the web. See the Socialtext Public Weblog and its blog entries for some examples. It's a great way to engage in the best of the web.

How to use RSS

To read RSS, you'll need a tool called a news aggregator. Some of the more popular news aggregators include:

  • Web: Bloglines -- free -- use for public workspaces only
  • Microsoft Windows: FeedDemon -- trial available, $29.95 price
  • Microsoft Windows (.NET): SharpReader by Luke Hutteman -- free, donations accepted
  • Microsoft Outlook: NewsGator -- free 14 day trial, $29.95 price
  • Macintosh OS X: NetNewsWire -- 30 day trial, $29.95 price

Note: Bloglines does not work securely with password-protected content.

How to subscribe to Socialtext RSS feeds

  1. Look for the orange base/images/feed-icon-14x14.png RSS button in Socialtext. Individual pages, weblogs, What's New, and Watchlists all have RSS feeds.
  2. Click on the hyperlink, or (on Windows) right-click to copy the URL.
  3. Paste the hyperlink into your news aggregator
  4. If you are in a private, password-protected workspace, check the aggregator's instructions for authentication (password login).
  5. Most aggregators will immediately download entries for the Weblog
  6. Some aggregators will check for updates on startup, hourly intervals or when you set to poll for the latest updates

RSS Password Protection

Private, password-protected Socialtext workspaces also provide the same password protection for your weblog RSS newsfeeds. Most popular newsreaders support authenticated newsfeeds. Instructions for entering your authentication credentials into several newsreaders can be found below.

Instructions for Secure Newsfeed Authentication

NewsGator

  • In the "Add Subscription" box, select the "Credentials" tab
  • Check "Use network credentials:"
  • Select "Use specific credentials:"
  • Enter your Socialtext username and password
  • Leave "Domain (optional)" blank

SharpReader

  • Enter the RSS URL as usual
  • A username / password box will pop up
  • Enter your Socialtext username and password and click "OK"

URL Authentication (NOT RECOMMENDED)

Some RSS aggregators allow you to specify newsfeed authentication by adding your username and password to the URL (web address). We strongly recommend not to do this. It is not secure, because saving or sending the URL includes your authentication details in cleartext along with the link.

This authentication method is no longer supported by Web-based aggregators based on Microsoft Internet Explorer IE6 with the latest security patches.

How it works, if you want to use this method at your own risk:

Place your username and password after the "http://" and before the hostname in the URL. Separate the two with a colon, ":", and separate them from the hostname with an at-symbol, "@". The at-symbol in your username must be replaced with the 3-character sequence "%40".

So for username "user@example.com" and password "password", you'd use a URL of the form http://user%40example.com:password@www.socialtext.com/workspaceid/index.cgi?action=rss20&category=My%20Weblog

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