Awasu » That’s not a new feature, this is a new feature!
Sunday 24th January 2010 12:06 PM [Awasu News]

Good grief, is it 2010 already? It doesn't seem that long ago us techies were running around like headless chooks, trying to prevent the world from ending and here we are, ten years on, um, laughing our asses off at this kind of thing 🙄

Anyway, to kick off the new year, the Awasu Monster has been hard at work putting up some insanely cool stuff on the wiki. Since he lives in California, the first couple of things he whipped up were some extensions to monitor earthquakes 🙂

GeoRSS and ShakeMap are both metadata modules, which allow Awasu to extract non-RSS information embedded in a feed, in this case geospatial information published by the United States Geological Survey. If you look at the screenshot to the right, you can see that Awasu has extracted the embedded information and presented it as part of each item (bottom-left) and also shown it in the item pane (top-right) 😎 You can also check out his new FAQ entry for details on how to add extra columns to the item pane.

Awasu actually already has support for geocodes, but a different format to the one used by the USGS so kevotheclone has also written an XSLT that converts the GeoRSS elements used by the USGS to the W3C format recognized by Awasu, should you prefer it in that format.

Turning our attention to Awasu's user tools, we have a tool that converts a web page or feed item to a PDF and one that hooks into Google's link analysis tools. And this one massively extends the list of places where you can send items to by using a "middleman" service.

But I've left the best for last, an XSLT that will automatically translate a feed from one language to another :blink: You simply attach it to a channel and all the feed items will automagically start to appear in your Awasu, translated! :clap: kevotheclone emailed me a few weeks ago to talk about this one, saying that he had been inspired to write it by an announcement by the developer of another popular feed reader that he was going to add a "translate this" feature to his product. Now, a new version of this product with this feature in it was released yesterday but if you look at the history of kevotheclone's wiki page, it first went up almost three weeks ago. In other words, not only was kevotheclone able to get this new feature added to Awasu and made available to everyone faster than this other guy was, he was able to do it with no involvement from us :bow:

In fact, all of the new features above are user-written extensions that work with a stock version of 2.4.1 (and some of them work with 2.4), using publicly available features of Awasu. Insanely cool, indeed :bigshock:

The next alpha release of 2.4.2 will be released later this week that adds even more features to the burgeoning API and I can't wait to see what kind of things kevotheclone will conjure up using it... :clap:

4 Responses to this post

Nice write-up! Squeezing those disparate updates into a nice cohesive flow!

What's next? Just to name a few...

More Metadata modules and an Application Plugin to determine what metadata is in your current feeds by examining the feeds files that Awasu saves in the "Logs" directory. Right now it's tedious to check what metadata is present in your feeds; I'll try to make it easier (of course many competing products just ignore much of the metadata).

Also, a Twitter-specific Channel Summary Template.

More geospatial features; the ability to output KML/KMZ files and integration with Google Earth (or whatever your favorite KML software is); a map-based Channel Report Template that will allow you to see where geospatial-encoded feed items are located on a map offering "'browse by location" capabilities.

Using the new Awasu API, there will be an Application Plugin that will allow you to see a quick overview of your Channels, Channel Filters, Channel Hooks, Channel Reports, Folders and Workpads. In the pre-API era I developed a raw-prototype of part this Plugin that allowed me to quickly see and correct some anomalies in my Channel Hook parameters. This updated version should make much of your Awasu installation self-documenting and easier to troubleshoot.

And once again thanks for all the work you've put into Awasu since it's inception to the next release. The coolness starts with Awasu itself, and builds with each new release and each new extension.

>>> Right now it’s tedious to check what metadata is present in your feeds

Actually, no. You can use the {%ITEM-METADATA-DUMP%} and {%CHANNEL-METADATA-DUMP%} tags in your channel summary templates 🙂 Best placed inside a <pre> tag.

It's been a long time since I looked at {%ITEM-METADATA-DUMP%} and {%CHANNEL-METADATA-DUMP%}, and at the time I was probably focused on just learning the standard parameter names/values and didn't notice any extra Metadata values if they were present.

Taking another look at my "Debug.template" which uses the above-mentioned "DUMP" parameters, I see things such as "itunes" and "geo" metadata names and values, so this is certainly helpful, but it's not exactly what I'm talking about.

The "DUMP" parameters only display the Metadata that Awasu is configured to capture at the time of update. Example: I unchecked my GEO, GeoRSS and ShakeMap Metadata modules and refreshed an "earthquake" feed and the new feed items did not display any of the GEO, GeoRSS, or ShakeMap values in 1) the Item Pane, 2) a standard "Rusty" template or 3) in my "Debug.template". I understand why this occurs and I think this is the correct behavior.

What I would like to do is find the Metadata in our current Channels that we don’t yet know about and possibly haven't created a Metadata module for (developer use), or any user can use this to discover that their existing Channels are loaded with extra metadata that they haven't been seeing and they can check the box next to the appropriate Metadata module to enable the capture/display of the data (non-developer use).

And the new $/channels/list API makes this easier than ever, due to the fact that it provides the specific file paths to the last feed file.

>>> What I would like to do is find the Metadata in our current Channels that we don’t yet know about and possibly haven’t created a Metadata module for

Whoa, this is a cool idea. I thought about having something similar when I originally implemented metadata modules but the problem is that extracting this extra information is fairly expensive, which is why everything is disabled by default, but doing it via a plugin is an excellent idea!

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