When RSS feeds take over the world

It’s been a day for seeing RSS feeds being used in interesting ways.

This dude has taken Bungie’s RSS feed that reports Halo 2 player stats, and brought it into an Excel application so that you can analyze your fragging ability using all sorts of pretty graphs.  You can even use it to visualize the answers to those nagging questions we used to contemplate back in my Unreal Tournament binge-playing days: am I a better player at certain times of day?  Is my play improving over time or stagnating?  You know: that kind of thing.  Sam, it would be really cool if you let us peek at your code.  Such a great example of Office development!  Anyway, check it out, especially if you’re a Halo 2 fan.  (Me, I still need to buy a TV.)

Meanwhile, over at MSN Search, they’ve given us the ability to obtain our search results as an RSS feed.  It’s in Alpha but it seems to be working just fine for me.  This feature strikes me as an RSS riff on the way Google’s search results can be obtained through their Web Services API.  I suppose there's no reason MSN Search couldn't also offer a Web Service interface.  But (serious question) which would you prefer to harvest: a Web Service, or an RSS feed? 

Comments (7)

  1. Ovidiu says:

    If I were to write a smart client for more complex purposes, a web service. If I wanted to save a query and be notified when the results change, maybe RSS would do better (although I’m not so sure). You guessed it, I’m a SOAP fan. Besides, it’s XML anyway, you can transform it.

  2. MSN’s RSS search feed is a great way to get news clippings… i.e. see when something changes in the search engine. I use it for my company name and blog.

  3. Robert Burke says:

    [Even more RSS goodness: Laurence has written an online game called Trackword that’s delivered over an automated RSS feed and uses a .NET app. Here it is: http://laurencetimms.com/trackwordhome.aspx]

  4. Robert Burke says:

    Marcus – cool stuff. Could you send a URL? And Ovidiu, that’s exactly it, you can transform XML, so it’s really six of one and half dozen of the other, isn’t it?

    Visual Studio has great tools support for Web Services, but as per one of the previous posts about contract-first web service design, that can be both a blessing and a curse. In this case, though, more blessing 😉

  5. Rob, all you need to do is add "&format=rss" to the end of a given search URL. For example my blog is http://beta.search.msn.com/results.aspx?FORM=SBLOG&q=Marcus%20Mac%20Innes&format=rss

  6. Jeff Parker says:

    I think a web service may be better in the long run, it is actually kind of amazing they didn’t come out with the web service first. I mean .net the whole marketing factor hoopla arguements over the name .net then I don;t know last I heard it was only called .net if it involved web services. So why isn’t there a web service for it?

  7. Ralph says:

    To bad Bungies Player stats RSS is down right now. I wanted to try that excel sheet out.


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