by Christopher Lindquist

RSS: All the Integration You Need?

Jun 20, 20062 mins

CIO has been doing a lot with RSS feeds recently. In addition to making a number of them available for readers to view, we use them internally to drive content to various parts of our site without having to go through a lot of tedious hand coding or direct database queries. The feeds function as a quick integration method that has given us a lot of flexibility. (You could argue that it’s integration in a single direction, but sometimes that’s enough.)

RSS is becoming ubiquitous in the content publishing arena–which makes logical sense (if not fiduciary sense at this point. Monetizing RSS feeds is a rather new art.) But recently I had a run-in with RSS on the e-commerce side.

I placed an order with to have them transcribe a podcast for me (After a couple interactions, thus far I can highly recommend their service. Low prices and excellent quality.)  Once I checked out of their online store, I was given the option of subscribing to an RSS feed that would track the progress of my order. I took the option, dropped the feed into the InfoRSS reader I have installed in FireFox and was thrilled to be able to get regular updates on my order without needing to check email. And once the order was fulfilled, I just dropped the feed from my list–no worries of continuing spam or chronically empty feeds cluttering my desktop. It’s a great tool, and Castingwords avoids security issues (it’s a wide-open feed after all) by providing only minimal information–meaningful to me but gibberish to anyone else.

I also had a chat with NewsGator’s founder Greg Reinacker a few weeks ago, and he mentioned that his company was seeing some interest in RSS as a more enterprise-friendly integration tool as well, though companies still had concerns about how to create secure feeds safe enough for data more valuable than my “your order has been processed” message from Castingwords.

It got me wondering about creative ways to use RSS as an integration tool. It’s standards-based, well understood, and rapidly being integrated into every piece of software imaginable.

What creative uses of RSS have you seen recently? Post a comment or drop me an email