RSS feeds are used to follow updates to a website, like a blog, without having to look for all of the changes. SharePoint web parts have RSS feeds too, and with the help of the RSS Viewer web part, data from one web part can be pushed to another, even if the two parts are on different sites.
Several RSS combining tools are available for free online. These tools pose the interesting possibility of displaying a combined feed from several web parts.
For this exercise, I created 2 Announcement lists for 2 different departments within a company. I then combined these feeds using a third party tool and published the resulting RSS feed into a company-wide announcement list with the RSS Viewer web part.
Combining 2 announcement lists
First, I created two announcement lists and named them HR and Accounting and added some dummy data.
- Open the web part.
- Click on the List Tab, and choose RSS Feed in the Share & Track group.
- Copy the URL for the RSS feed and record it in OneNote, Notepad, or whatever you like.
- Repeat for the other list.
Combining RSS Feeds with passwords
There are a number of RSS feed combining tools out there.
- Yahoo Pipes (Very Powerful, but requires a Yahoo login)
- chimpfeedr.com (works, simple, but you can’t edit the feed once its created)
- rssmix.com (work well)
- Feedcombine.com (works well)
Any of them would be fine, except for the problem of the password. Most SharePoint sites, and therefore SharePoint list RSS feeds, are password protected. Only Yahoo Pipes allows a user to enter a password to access a feed.
Yahoo Pipes is a powerful tool for drag and drop programming. We’re going to use it to enter a password for the RSS feed.
- Follow this link to a template pipe and enter the username, password, and RSS link in the first announcement list.
- Click Run Pipe. Some results may appear.
- Click Get RSS
- Copy the URL of the next page.
The URL is very long, and you’ll notice it includes both your username and password.
Do this for both or all of your RSS feeds and save the resulting URLs.
Combining RSS Feeds
Yahoo Pipes can combine these URL’s for you if you have a Yahoo Account. The advantage is that you can go back and edit the feed later if need be, but Yahoo Pipes isn’t quite as straight forward as other tools.
To combine these URLs, I used Chimpfeedr.com. Simply paste in a URL and click the add feed button. When you’ve entered all of the URLs, click Chomp Chomp! Copy the url of the next page. This is your combined feed.
Adding the RSS Viewer web part
I then navigated to the page on which I wanted the combined announcement list to appear. In Edit mode, in inserted the RSS Viewer web part under the Content Rollup category.
I simply entered the URL from chimpfeedr and clicked ok.
It may take some time for the data to move through all of those tools, so expect a delay from posting announcements to when they will appear on the combined list.