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Developing Feeds with RSS and Atom Paperback – April 23, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0596008819 ISBN-10: 0596008813 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (April 23, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596008813
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596008819
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,049,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Hammersley's pevious RSS book was seminal, this one is definitive." - Davey Winder, PC Plus, September (PC Plus Editor's Choice) 9/10

About the Author

Ben Hammersley is a journalist, technologist, and broadcaster. As a foreign reporter, he has worked in Iran, Afghanistan, Burma, and Beirut. As a technologist he has written books for O'Reilly and others, built sites for the Guardian and the BBC, and consulted for the UK government. He is principal of Dangerous Precedent Ltd, and Associate Editor of the UK edition of Wired.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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This is a good general guide that will maintain value after your initial read.
Jase T. Wolfe
This is a useful little book; the whole main content is around 200 pages and the author's pleasant writing style makes it really easy to read in a day or two.
Foti Massimo
One of the very best O'Reilly books I've read in a long time, is Developing Feeds with RSS and Atom by Ben Hammersley.
J. P. Mens

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By ths on October 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book has some good resource citings, and general information on RSS. It includes a lot of discussion on the previous iterations in the RSS geneology...up to the current RSS 2.0 specification.

The index is not very thorough.

I bought the book hoping to learn more about RSS feed development (as the title suggests). I was greatly disappointed. There is one chapter dedicated to RSS 2.0. Within the chapter there is a section entitled "Creating RSS 2.0 Feeds." This section--you would think is the core of the book-- is 8 pages long (if that) including 3 pages of Perl code examples.

Good luck if you want to learn about creating Atom feeds from this publication. There is a 14 page chapter dedicated to Atom. It is prefaced with a disclaimer indicating that code in the chapter may fail due to version rot (and to surf the web for answers). Also in this chapter, there is a section entitled "Producing Atom Feeds." This consists of 2 brief paragraphs explaining how the current Atom version is not worth addressing and suggests purchasing the next edition of the book to find out how to produce feeds using up to date libraries!!!

You can draw your own conclusions from all that.

This book falls far short of the quality O'Reilly books of yore.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jase T. Wolfe on May 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
Both individuals who know what RSS/Atom feeds are but need information on how to develop and implement them, as well as intermediate users already publishing a feed and looking for more progressive information, will find value in this title. Advanced users will most likely not find anything they don't already know. Covering RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0 and Atom .05, readers are walked thru the basics and intermediate concepts of implementation starting with a general background history, end-user reader requirements and options, and syntax usage for each version. The book then concludes with more intensive topics, such as usage of industry standard RSS modules, development of custom RSS modules, syndication thru services or direct publication, as well as third-party utility scripts and resources.

A few items set this title apart. First, the author has not dedicated this only to those who wish to perform serious syndication. Time is spent both showing how anyone regardless of skill level can publish a feed without programming, and teaching them how to use various styles of feed readers and the etiquette behind subscribing. For those who wish to go beyond basic feed development, the author dedicates entire chapters to things such as RSS modules (by RSS version), programmatically developed feeds, creating feeds which self-publish data from other web sites or databases, and publishing your feed for various platforms. Readers should be aware that the majority of scripts presented within the title are in Perl or PHP, and either a working knowledge of those languages or of any scriptable language will be needed if you intend to go beyond the beginning / intermediate level; not having this knowledge does not detract from the overall value of the book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Foti Massimo on May 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a useful little book; the whole main content is around 200 pages and the author's pleasant writing style makes it really easy to read in a day or two. The amount of pages isn't huge but, in my opinion, provides an effective coverage of RSS. Most code listings use Perl, making them useless for people (like me) using other languages but this doesn't really affect the book too much, since the goal isn't to provide a collection of coding recipes. This new edition doesn't cover RSS 0.9x anymore but has a nice chapter on Atom
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jake McKee on July 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book has some great info on RSS and Atom, although not as up to date as one might hope. This book, like the O'Reilly RSS book before it, has a good 1/2 of the book dedicated to PERL specific programming ideas.

Since I don't program in PERL, and can't necessarily follow along, I would much rather have seen more conceptual discussion about RSS/Atom possibiliities than the specific (PERL only) few examples.

Comments for instance - RSS has a <comments> tag, but the book doesn't go into depth at all on how to use it. As a webmaster of several blogs, I'd like to know more about the "right" way to do comments - is it as a separate feed? Can I put them inline? How do other people do it? What's the benefits one way or the other?

Overall, a good book, don't get me wrong. I'd just hoped for something a bit different, and hopefully that'll come soon.
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Format: Paperback
I got an opportunity to review another RSS/Atom title called Developing Feeds with RSS and Atom by Ben Hammersley (O'Reilly). This is a pretty focused title targeted for developers.

Chapter List: Introduction; Using Feeds; Feeds Without Programming; RSS 2.0; RSS 1.0; RSS 1.0 Modules; The Atom Syndication Format; Parsing and Using Feeds; Feeds in the Wild; Unconventional Feeds; Developing New Modules; The XML You Need for RSS; Useful Sites and Software; Index

The author spends just a little time talking about the whys of RSS/Atom feeds and then dives into the guts of each of the specifications. For the developer looking to learn how to develop a syndicated feed, this focus will probably be highly appreciated. Another interesting part of the book is explanations of the politics behind the three main standards (RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0, and Atom). Unlike most naming standards, RSS 2.0 isn't an update of RSS 1.0, and Atom is a third beast that must be accounted for. When you read the history of how each one came into being, it makes a bit more sense as to how we got into this position. Doesn't make it any easier to accommodate things, but at least you can understand it.

From a programming perspective, most of the code is done in Perl with a smattering of Ruby and PHP mixed in. I personally would have liked to see a bit more attention paid to Java, but I guess you can't have everything. You can at least use the programs to get ideas on potential solutions even if you don't use/know Perl.

Overall, a good treatment of an important technology in today's internet environment, and a book that will be useful as you start to add syndication into your applications.
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More About the Author

Ben Hammersley is a British writer and technologist, specializing in the effects of the internet and the ubiquitous digital network on the worldʼs political, cultural and social spheres. He now enjoys an international career as a speaker, explaining complex technological and sociological topics to lay audiences, and as a high-level advisor on these matters to governments and business.Previously a national broadsheet journalist, broadcaster and war correspondent, he is now the UK Prime Minister's Ambassador to Tech City, London's Internet Quarter; Innovator-in-Residence at Goldsmiths, University of London, a Fellow of the Brookings Institution, Washington DC, and an alumnus of the Trapeze School of New York's Santa Monica campus. His books are really good.

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