RSS is a crucial technology of the web as it allows publishers to syndicate their content in a variety of ways and readers to stay conveniently up to date with their preferred information sources. (It’s also in the news this week because of Google’s announcement that it will shut down its popular RSS reader.)
Specifically, RSS is a “family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video” (Wikipedia) in standardized fashion. If you’re not familiar with RSS, you can read our previous article on what exactly are RSS feeds and why we care about them.
The most common way to use RSS is to subscribe to the feeds of particular sites using a reader program such as Netvibes (especially with today’s news that Google Reader is shutting down.) But there’s much more you can do, such as re-publishing the latest headlines from a selected source on your own website or even a desktop application.
In these additional contexts, a common question is how to generate a single unified RSS feed from multiple urls.
You might have a blog and you’d like to have a “Latest Headlines” widget that displays news from a variety of your favorite sources.
Or perhaps you contribute to multiple websites and want to have a unified feed of all of your own writing.
Whatever the particular need, there are a number of tools that can help you do the job. These services are known as RSS Aggregators, and the following are a few that we prefer. If you know of others that deserve a mention, let us know in the comments below!
List of the Best RSS Aggregators:
RSS Mix – It’s not fancy, but this service gets the job done and is one of the simplest for generating a unified RSS feed.
Chimp Feedr – This service offered by the email marketing company Mailchimp is easy to use. It doesn’t have a lot of features but is effective for aggregating feeds, and you don’t need to be a Mailchimp customer to use it.
Feed Stitch – Feed Stitch goes beyond just aggregating regular old RSS feeds: you can also bring in feeds from Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr and more. And instead of just being a one-time creation process, you sign in with this service and can save your Stitches for later updating.
Yahoo Pipes – Yahoo Pipes is an even more powerful tool for RSS feed aggregation. You can use it to many things to your feed, including sorting, filtering and translating it. It’s even possible to “geocode your favorite feeds and browse the items on an interactive map” and grab the output of your feed in various formats including RSS, JSON, and KML.
What do you like to use for aggregating RSS feeds?