RSS features

From refbase

refbase offers to convert almost[1] any query into a RSS feed which can be subscribed to using your favorite news reader.

[1] (regarding RSS support in refbase-0.8.0: you can't subscribe to RSS feeds whose queries include user-specific fields. This will hopefully be added in a future release.)

With refbase you can:

  • use automatically created RSS queries
  • create your own RSS queries


What is RSS

In a nutshell: RSS (Really Simple Syndication) allows Internet users to subscribe to content of a website. Thus the user will get the newest information automatically. This is often used for online newspapers etc. To read an RSS feed (i.e. the subscription) you need a news reader, which is available in form of standalone programs or incorporated into mail programs and browsers.

For more information please visit Wikipedia.

Benefits of RSS

So, what is the benefit for the usage within refbase?

  • you will be immediatly informed about changes in refbase, e.g.:
    • when new records are added
    • records are changed in any way
    • a wanted keyword was added to the database and so on

In fact, any query can be turned into a RSS feed (besides user specific data).

That's why, RSS feeds are the optimal tool to be up to date with your database in any way!

Using prepared RSS queries

  • If your are using an internet browser with RSS capability, you should be informed about available RSS queries, when you visit the start page.
    • Firefox:
      • you should see in the lower right corner of the browser window a symbol, which inform you about available RSS feeds
      • click on this icon to see a list of these feeds
      • now you should right-click on the desired entry and select copy link adress
      • with this link adress you can establish a new RSS feed in your newsreader
  • If you executed a query (e.g. Simple Search, Advanced Search or SQL Search), you will find in the header (above the query results) a link called RSS (or track in refbase-0.8.0).
    • in the same way, as mentioned above
      • right-click on the RSS link and copy the link adress
      • with this link adress you can establish a new RSS feed in your newsreader

Creating your own RSS queries

You can create new and probably very specific RSS feeds (queries) by using the SQL Search page.

This will be demonstrated by creating a RSS feed that contains all records that were added (or edited) today. This may seem tricky since, obviously, the date in the query would change every day.

Here's how to do it:

The MySQL query language offers a CURDATE() function that will insert the current date (like '2005-04-13') and which can be used within the WHERE clause of a SQL query. If you display the SQL Search page of your refbase database and paste the following query into the SQL Query form:

SELECT author, title, year, publication, volume, pages FROM refs WHERE modified_date = CURDATE()
ORDER BY author, year DESC 

the database will display all records that were edited today.

Here's an appropriate news feed for the refbase Demo Database: 

The resulting RSS feed will always display all those records of the refbase Demo Database that were edited during the current day. (If you don't see any records for this feed, chances are high that there were no changes to any records during this day -- of course, you could login and make some changes yourself... :)

To adopt this feed URL to your own database, simply replace with the URL to your own refbase base directory. You may also want to adopt the value of the showRows parameter which specifies how many records will be displayed. You can then use the resulting URL as feed URL when subscribing to this feed in your news reader.

Btw, the same could be done for records that were added to the database using the created_date field instead: