RSS Aggregation: Adding a list of comments from other blogs

Warning

Google is discontinuing reader. I have changed the main blog aggregations to use yahoo pipes, and will do so for other feeds later. I may give updated instructions on this blog, though in the mean time it should be easy to use a feed combiner of your choice instead of google reader. 

I give no warranty that yahoo pipes will continue to be available, I could end up having to change again in the future!

Image showing composite in sidebar

A composite feed rom several blogs

I have recently added a composite feed from a number of other blogs into the sidebar of my Hindu blog. I also created a page showing a summary of these items. To demonstrate how this was done I have decided to add (maybe temporarily) a feed of tips from a number of blogs on WordPress on my Tech blog.

First, I will describe the concept. Like a lot of websites, WordPress blogs provide an RSS feed, which contains information about the latest posts. These can be put into the WordPress sidebar using the RSS Widget. However to show the latest of several blogs in a single widget you need an RSS aggregator. There are several RSS aggregators, but I wanted one that would be around for a long time (how wrong I was!). After some research I discovered that Google Reader can aggregate RSS feeds. 

Multiple Feeds aggregated into one

To create an aggregate feed in Google reader, subscribe first if you don’t use any google services. Next subscribe to the feeds you want to aggregate. Some browsers require a plugin to do this, but for most you go to the blog and click the RSS symbol, and this will give you the option of subscribing with google reader. These will show in your subscriptions.

To create an aggregate we use the fairly well hidden option “create bundle”. To do this select “brows for stuff” then “create bundle”.

Create a Bundle

Give the bundle a name, a description, and drag the feeds into the bundle:

The created bundle

When you save the bundle you will see a list of bundles, including the new one. Click on the “add a link” link, as shown below:

Add a link to your website

This will open a page similar to the one below. The aggregated feed is available by right-clicking the “atom feed” link and selecting “save link as”. Alternatively simply click the link and copy the link address from your browser’s URL bar.

Get the aggregated feed address

Now go to your WordPress dashboard and select Appearance->Widgets. Drag an RSS widget to your sidebar (or any other widget area), paste the Atom URL in and optionally add a title:

Add the RSS Widget to WordPress

You can see the resulting feed in the sidebar, but just in case I remove it, here is an image:

The RSS feed showing in the sidebar

The single page view for the feed was created using Google Sites. I am not going to give full instructions with diagrams unless someone asks, but the basic steps are:

  • Create a Site
  • Edit the page
  • Insert Widget, then “More Widgets”
  • Search for RSS
  • Insert the Google RSS widget
  • Add the RSS url, set the size to 500px high
  • Save

The resulting page can be seen here (I did a bit more tidying for the one on my Hindu site). If you want to link to the page in the WordPress sidebar, use a text widget. I did this on my Hindu site directly under the feed widget.