Is there something magic about the number 20? Why don't individual wiki pages offer RSS feeds? These are two of the questions I've been forced to ponder this week.
Here's my story. A month ago I blogged about the launch of the COPPUL Animated Tutorial Sharing (ANTS) Project. We're using a wiki (MediaWiki) to track who's doing what with the tutorials. I wanted to create a simple automated way to inform people when something had changed on that wiki page (ie someone had taken ownership of a particular tutorial) so my quest for a service that would create an RSS feed from a wiki page began.
There are over 100 items on a list on the wiki page and it turns out that's very important.
First up was Feed43, which I found several weeks ago while it was still in beta. It was fairly complicated to get going, but eventually I provided all the right data and had a really nice feed. It worked well until about a week ago, when Feed43 went public and their servers became overwhelmed. They scaled all the feeds back so they would only deliver 20 items via RSS, which is fine for most, but completely ruins a feed that's trying to monitor a list of over 100. I exchanged several emails with one of the founders and he says they're working on a paid version that would allow me to monitor that many items, but the subscription model isn't in place yet so that's of no use to me. I was very impressed with the communication and support though.
Earlier today I found FeedYes, which is much easier to get started with, but seems to have the same frustrating limitation! The other drawback with FeedYes is that it doesn't send full descriptions of the page content; only hyperlinks. I could live with that, but found it frustrating that the preview they showed me had the entire list, but what's delivered via the feed stops at 20 items. I'm still waiting to hear back from the email I sent them, so maybe I'm missing something with this service. UPDATE: I heard back from Jeroen at FeedYes within an hour, and he wrote that the limit is currently 30 items, and that they've heard from several people requesting the ability to monitor more items in their feed. They're considering it for their next release, "which should be available in 3-4 weeks."
Turns out I'm not the only one playing with these services this week. Robin Good and John Tropea (Library Clips) both have posts from earlier today on these services. They both also mention FeedFire, but I couldn't get that one to work at all with the wiki page.
So does anyone out there know of a good way to monitor a structured wiki page? I want to be able to receive updates of the specific items that have changed on this list.
Technorati Tags: RSS