Making RSS do Neat Tricks
In a modern website, it’s often not enough to simply publish your content. As users become more and more sensitive to the need to promote their content, they will find that they want to promote various content across their own website: a home page is a perfect candidate!
It is a known fact, for example, that web visitors respond well to written testimonials; you may also want to catch their attention with a little “tidbit” of information, such as a quote, or even better; a property that isn’t even listed by you, but is part of a Reciprocity program (which may give you the right to advertise it while complying with your MLS Board Reciprocity rules).
We called this process of cross-posting content: “featuring” (other terms out there include “Buzz”, “Boost”, etc). The basic premise is the same: to feature something, you need to have a list of items; a list of items is a perfect candidate for an RSS feed; an RSS feed is a perfect source for an RSS Reader. MyRealPage has always had a “News Weblet” as part of its Website System, so we decided to open up the RSS feeds to make all this content “featuring” possible. (If you are looking for a Quick Primer on RSS, Atom and Feeds as it may relate to this post, go to MyRealPage Web Cookbook article).
Many MyRealPage weblets have also been built on the uniform platform which we called “Lead-Ins” in the past. We found that many things that users want to list include any subset of the following attributes:
- Optional Image
- Optional Link
We built Testimonials, Awards, Links, Reports, and recently Snippets weblets based on this technology. Now any “Lead-In” based weblet (i.e. list-oriented weblet) will produce an RSS feed. Even better, when you have multiple such weblets on a page, all of them will contribute to the same feed (neat for links, for example, where you may want to break a long list into multiple sections, consisting of several Links weblets).