Tuesday, August 28, 2007

RSS Feeds for Mailing Lists and Newsgroups

The community (that's you) have been asking us for RSS feeds for our mailing lists and newsgroups for awhile now (bug 107609, bug 106561, etc) and we've got them! It turns out that our mail archiver, Mhonarc, is a very versatile piece of software. It can take a template for it's output and can also handle more than one kind of index for each list. With a fair bit of work we can now supply RSS for any mailing list or newsgroup that is archived. Most public discussion is archived, so that means you can now subscribe to many lists via RSS if you don't want to participate, but want to read it. The one big exception to public list archiving are the CVS commits lists which are not archived for obvious reasons.

If you try to subscribe to your favorite list via RSS and find that it's not available that's probably for one reason: no one has posted to the list since August 18, when I first started generating the feeds. In order to produce the feed the archive needs to be updated and we haven't rebuilt the archives for all of the lists because of the disk intensity of this process (it has to process the whole list that way). So if you want a feed and the list doesn't have one, start a new discussion on the list. :) New messages are processed every few minutes.

So how do you find the RSS feeds? Each of the 'listinfo' pages will show whether or not the list has an active RSS feed as of 5am Eastern daily. If you go to the listinfo page like this one for wtp-dev:

You will see the new RSS icons. If you're in Firefox the feed will be displayed in the URL bar, and no matter what browser you're in it will be shown in the window as depicted here. If you've just sent a new message to the list the page won't reflect the new feed until 5am the next day, but it should be available within a few minutes. You can find it at http://dev.eclipse.org/mhonarc/lists/[LISTNAME]/maillist.rss .

So enjoy!

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