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Preview: Comments on: Next step with Web Feed Readers: from Passive readers to Active users!

Comments on: Next step with Web Feed Readers: from Passive readers to Active users!

Data Scientist & Software Developer

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By: Fred

Thu, 20 Jul 2006 16:47:28 +0000

Hi Taka!

Wow! It seems really, really great! You have done a real good job with that one. I'll try to write something about that new feature as soon as I have some time to check it and write about it (I currently lack of time with Talk Digger and other contracts).



By: Taka

Wed, 19 Jul 2006 11:19:11 +0000

Just letting you know that a new version of Awasu has just been released that contains the metadata features I talked about above.

We included your embedded email example as one of the formats Awasu supports out-of-the-box and you can see it in action at the bottom of this page.

By: Taka

Mon, 29 May 2006 14:13:09 +0000

Yes, the metadata framework will be enhanced in the next release.

Right now, Awasu only recognizes standard feed elements such as Author, PubDate, Copyright, etc. The next release will allow you to extract arbitrary elements from the XML (using XPath) and save them as your own metadata (along with all the standard ones) with each feed item.

By: Fred

Mon, 29 May 2006 13:36:27 +0000

Hi taka,

It is really great what you are doing with Awasu. I am glad that you took the time to explain to me (and my readers) what it is all about.

Are you expecting to extend the metadata framework with the next release? Because tell me if I am wrong, but I think that the metadata framework have been created from RSS feed elements only? I think it could be, in the future, interesting to extend it with other elements.

Otherwise, is there a way to extend the metadata framework by ourselfves, using pludings or channel or whatever, to meet our needs?

Thanks and keep up the great work!

Take care,



By: Taka

Fri, 26 May 2006 01:00:09 +0000

Whoops, made a misteak with the node names in the metadata node mapping example :embarrassed: But you get the idea.

The point is that Awasu will be able to parse *arbitrary* XML and present it to the user, and use it elsewhere in the program e.g. search. It could be RDF, it could be something else, but regardless, Awasu doesn't need to know anything about it.

By: Taka

Fri, 26 May 2006 00:56:21 +0000

Both plugin channels and channel hooks are small standalone scripts. They can be written in any language and can sometimes be as short as 10 lines of code.

For plugin channels, think CGI scripts on web server: somebody requests a URL and the web server launches the CGI to generate the HTML that will be returned. Similarly, when a plugin channel needs to be updated, Awasu launches a script which does what it needs to do (e.g. query a database or web service) and prints out a RSS, RDF or Atom feed to stdout. No special "formatting" is required, it's all standard feed XML.

Channel hooks are akin to aspect-oriented programming. They are scripts that get launched when something *happens* on a channel e.g. it is updated or new content is received. The hook gets passed details of the event which it can analyze and respond to. For example, there is a channel hook that sends an email when new content is received and another one that shows the latest content for a channel in small window that floats on the desktop. One of our users wrote a channel hook to manage iTunes downloads; it gets invoked every time a podcast download completes. Again, nothing "special" is required, you simply register a hook for any channel (it doesn't matter if it's a plugin channel or a normal HTTP-based feed) and it will get invoked every time the events happen.

WRT to your original post, the really cool stuff will be in the next release. Awasu currently uses a generic metadata framework and as it parses a feed, it extracts the standard RSS/RDF/Atom elements and maps them to these metadata. The HTML page that is used to show feed content to the user is template-based and uses this metadata to build the page e.g. {%CHANNEL-METADATA% name} is used to insert the channel's name, {%ITEM-METADATA% author/email} for a feed item author's email address.

The next release will let you map arbitrary elements in the XML to Awasu metadata nodes. Using your email example, you might set up a mapping like this:

email:Subject => email/subject
email:From => email/from

Awasu will parse these XML elements and attach them as metadata to the feed item. You can then include them in the HTML templates like this:

Yo! An email from {%ITEM-METADATA% email/name%} is embedded in this feed item: {%ITEM-METADATA% email/title}

By: Fred

Thu, 25 May 2006 20:24:07 +0000

Hi guys,

John: great, thanks for these links.

Taka: wow, thanks for passing by and telling me that something in that way already exist! I just read about your "channel hooks" and it is exactly what I had in mind.

I particularly like the example with the stock exchange:

Awasu monitors a channel that shows the current prices of shares in your stock portfolio. Every time the channel is updated, a hook is also called to check for sudden price movements. If something is detected, Awasu sends an urgent SMS message to your mobile phone to notify you and asks if you want to buy or sell any stock. You reply with an SMS message and Awasu forwards those instructions to your broker.

If my understanding is right, the Awasu plugins are standalone applictions that create the feed content and the "channel hooks" are able to read and act accordingly to these "special" feed, right?

In that case, you format the feed in a "special" way, right? If so, how does it works?

It is a job for RDF vocabularies I think, doesn't?

Thanks for this very interesting conversation that is starting!

Take care,



By: Taka

Thu, 25 May 2006 02:03:06 +0000

This is something that we've been designing into Awasu for a long time, making it something that actively monitors and responds to the information stream rather than just passively presenting it to the user.

Awasu already has a plugin that monitors a mailbox and generates a feed from it, using a mailto: link for each item so that clicking on them wil launch your email client. This almost gives the exact behaviour you described.

Even better, I am right this moment working on a new feature to extract *arbitrary* metadata from a feed (such as the your email module) and present it to the user, make it available to channel hooks, be searchable, etc. It's going to be a *really* exciting addition to the next release :-)

By: John Tropea

Thu, 25 May 2006 01:14:43 +0000


I totally agree that we need to take action after reading from within the RSS Reader.

See an old post of mine: