Channel hooks are a powerful feature of Awasu and transform it from being just
another RSS reader to something much more profound. Like plugins,
they are small programs or scripts that get run by Awasu but while plugins are
used to generate feeds, hooks are run when certain things happen
with a channel e.g. when the channel is updated or new items are found. In other
words, they hook into the flow of information within a channel.
Why is this so important? Browsers such as Internet Explorer or Mozilla and
every other RSS reader available today are passive tools; they simply display
the data as it arrives without understanding anything about what they are showing.
Channel hooks allow Awasu to monitor information as it comes in, analyze
it and then respond to it.
Here are some examples of what channel hooks can do:
- A channel plugin gets the current
stock levels in your warehouse from a corporate database and converts it into
a feed which Awasu uses to constantly show you the latest information on your
PC. Every time the channel is updated, a hook is called that checks if anything
is running low and if so, sends a request to your buying department to replenish
it. It also sends you an email to let you know that it's done it.
- Awasu monitors a channel that shows the current prices of shares in your
stock portfolio. Every time the channel is updated, a hook is called to check
for sudden price movements. If something is detected, Awasu sends an urgent
SMS message to your mobile phone to notify you and asks if you want to buy
or sell any stock. You reply with an SMS message and Awasu forwards those
instructions to your broker.
- If you are a researcher, you will probably have quite a few channels relating
to your field of interest. A channel hook can be set up that gets called every
time a new item is found on any of those channels. The new item can be checked
for certain words or concepts and if it matches, recorded in a database. Leave
Awasu running for a while and pretty soon, you'll have a database full of
items directly related to the subject you are interested in.
Currently, two channel hooks are installed as standard with Awasu:
Monitor Window. This is a small window that can be left floating on
your desktop and shows the current feed for a channel.
- Send Email.
This hook sends out an email when new feed items are received on a channel.
Please note that this hook needs to be configured correctly for it to work.
Talk to your system administrator if you are unsure of how to do this.
Other channel hooks are available on the Awasu
web site. For example, this
one stores new content in a MySQL database as it arrives.
More channel hooks are scheduled for the near future that will:
- send an SMS message to your mobile phone when new items are found.
- send an IM message when new items are found.
- show the current feed items for a channel in a ticker window .
- show an icon in the system tray for a channel that animates when new items