Alternative Uses for RSS

At work we use a homemade bug tracking system I built a couple years ago during a slow month. Although the code isn’t exactly stellar, it works pretty well and most importantly, people actually use it(!). My biggest beef with it (and all our internal web-based applications) is that every time I want to use the application, you have to login. It might be ok if I only used it once a day, but it’s something that I want to see immediately. Multiple times throughout the day someone will say “hey, what’s the status on issue #14044?” so after falling in love with SharpReader this week, I created an RSS feed for each project. Now I can keep SharpReader open in the system tray, it’ll automatically refresh the data every n minutes, and I don’t have to login each time to view the bugs.

I mention it because I think it’s one of those examples of an application being used for something that wasn’t originally intended by their creators. Luke Hutteman, who created SharpReader, probably never imagined that his 3 paned aggregator would be used to view tickets in a bug tracking system. What other ways are you using RSS?

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4 Responses to Alternative Uses for RSS

  1. Aaron – anyway to secure feeds such as an internal company support feed where that feed may be accessed from outside – say staffers using standard connection. I do not think any of the RSS standards provide for this do they?

  2. AC says:

    I know that Nick Bradbury’s FeedDemon (www.feeddemon.com) allows you to specify username/password in feed’s URL (ie http://user:pass@your.feed.com/rss) so you could protect feeds by using simple HTTP authentication.

  3. Mike says:

    Had a similar issue come up with a ColdFusion app and solved the “instant login” problem in two different ways:

    1. We used a custom reader written in Delphi, similar to SharpReader, but not nearly as generalized.

    2. We wrote a simple JavaScript bookmarklet that uses a prompt dialog box to get info, then calls the server side program, logging-in automatically.

    Security for the latter was handled by having CF check not only username/password, but also IP address.

    Something like the first can be done in specialized SWF container apps like SWF Desktop or SWF Studio.

  4. Jose Anes says:

    Here I use it for news, weather, stock quotes, and network management alerts.

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