Thursday, February 22, 2007


David Shorthouse altered me to RSSBus, which is similar to Yahoo's Pipes, but Lance Robinson (the "Tech Evangelist" at RSSBus) argues that their product is much better. What is RSSBus?
RSSBus is a Really Simple Service Bus that uses the RSS protocol as the main interchange mechanism. RSS is an extensible protocol used to exchange Feeds of Items. Normally these are news items or blog postings, but they don't have to be: RSS Feeds may be augmented through standard RSS extensions to exchange any type of data.

RSSBus is a collection of tools and services that simplify the process of creating RSS Feeds with rich data extensions. Feeds are generated from RSSBus Connectors, reusable code modules that convert data into feeds. They do so by communicating with RSSBus over defined interfaces (please refer to our RSSBus Connectors Reference for details on building custom connectors).

RSSBus provides an infrastructure for generating, maintaining, combining, manipulating, and visualizing Feeds. Items and Feeds are orchestrated by the RSSBus Engine and together help create a loosely integrated application architecture which we like to refer to as RSS Web.

David says he has managed to recreate iSpecies on his desktop with RSSBus, which sounds cool. So far RSSBus is a Windows only tool, although there is code for other platforms listed on the blog. There is also a white paper.
Looks like the conversation on OpenSearch, RSS, and biodiversity informatics has only just got started.


Peter Miller said...

I'm interested in RSS too, mainly from a eLearning perspective, and have been playing with Pipes. I think another significant development is the announcement by dabbleDb of their free Commons service. This is a trivial way of generating simple databases of, say, 10-20,000 records that are designed, maintained and accessed via the web. Import of existing data is straightforward and, more to the point, generating selective RSS feeds is a snap.

David Shorthouse said...

The really cool thing about RSSBus (desktop) is that you can pull data from external sources and mix them with your local data using their growing number of connectors (eg Excel, SQL, tab-delimited text) and spit the result out in a template as Excel, RSS, HTML, etc. If the external feeds were OpenSearch with RSS 2.0 extensions like MediaRSS and GeoRSS, you can just imagine the power of such a system.

Jeff said...

RSSBus has built-in support for a whole plethora of different output formats, such as MediaRSS, Excel, Atom, JSON, HTML, and a ton of others. I have been playing with it recently and I am very impressed, I would highly recommend checking out the product, it has become so much more powerful!

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