How to Change Your RSS Feed

There are several ways to change the content of your RSS feed and how you consume it. I am not an expert, but from what I understand you can get an RSS Reader that is a stand alone app instead of using a web extension browser like I do. That might be a good idea from a security perspective. Not sure. Also, I imagine there are a bunch of other browser extensions other than Feedbro (the one I use). And within all of these options there is going to be configuration options.

I'm not going to cover any of that business, what I am going to cover is a little magic you can do by changing the URL that you use as the basis for your RSS feed. When I setup the RSS newsfeed tutorial for this website I provided a URL for each topic area in the website. I set it up so you would get the complete article whenever I posted it. However, you can change the URL in your RSS reader so you get a different product, such as just getting the first paragraph rather than the whole article, and then if you are interested in the article, you visit the website. I didn't thank that was quite as handy for keeping up to date on this website. Honestly, I am not going to be putting out dozens of articles each and every day to pick from. Also, if you aren't interested in an article, you can just mark it read anyway and move on down the list. No one says you have to read the whole thing.

Anyway, here is the URL feed that I designed that gives you the full article in the politics category:


The first part – the RSS web program – of this you don't mess with:


But the following part – the RSS query – you can tinker with and see if it suits you better:


A couple of things to understand. The ? in the URL indicates that a query follows. In other words, feed.php is a bit of program that you are asking to process your request, the question mark [?] means that which follows is the request, and ampersand [&] separates each option inside the request, and each option is divided into three parts, the name of the option, the equal [=] sign, and then the option you are selecting.

Let's take the above “ns=politics” for example. Namespace or “ns” above is the technical term for what I've been calling a topic area of this website. So when you ask for “ns=politics” it simply means, you want the website to give the postings made in the politics area of the website. So, if you wanted “linux” as a topic rather than “politics” you just substitute those words, leave the rest alone and you've got it (i.e. “ns=linux”).

The rest of the settings are described here. Once you build the URL newsfeed query you want to try out you simply drop that URL into the appropriate spot for your RSS newsreader and away you go.