Use Dapper To Create RSS Feeds From Any Page, Including Google Plus Posts
Lorelle just informed me that the public Google Plus RSS Feeds service Plusfeed has shut down because of an increase in pricing over at Appspot (which is run by Google apparently). It feels rather strange that Google has not added RSS feeds to their social networking site Google Plus yet, and with PlusFeed gone, there is little that users can do to subscribe to the RSS feeds of posts on Google Plus that they want to monitor.
I first thought about Yahoo Pipes and using that service to create custom RSS feeds for Google Plus. It should be doable, but it is not something that an inexperienced user would be comfortable working with.
Dapper, which is owned by Yahoo as well, is a streamlined alternative. I'm now going to show you how you can use Dapper to create a Google Plus RSS Feed.
Create Google Plus RSS Feed
Visit the Dapper website and click on the create a new Dapp link once the home page has loaded.
This takes you to the Start screen of the Dapp Factory. Here you need to specify what you want to create. In our case, we want to create an RSS feed. We also need to select a website url that we want to create the RSS feed from. This is the posts page on Google Plus, e.g. https://plus.google.com/115604903045061277330/posts
Click the Next button afterwards. You can close the Demo that is coming up or skip it. You should see a Google Plus posts page on your screen now. Click the Add as Sample button at the top and then on the Next Step button in the left menu bar. Confirm that you only need that one url in the prompt that pops up.
Dapper analyzes the page for a moment and will then display the same page again. You will however notice that your mouse selects elements on the page automatically when you hover over them. You now need to select the items on the page that you want included in the RSS Feed.
Since Google is not displaying dates we have to resort to the content and the posters name. Start by moving the mouse over the name in the Posts area. A click on the name should highlight all post names on the page.
Click Save Field and enter a name for it (e.g. Name). Leave everything else as default and click Save.
Now for the difficult part. Move your mouse over the content area, so that all of the post sans the name, post status and sharing section are included. The easiest position to do that is the lower right corner of the post.
All contents should be displayed in the footer area again. Verify that this is the case and click the Save Field afterwards. Give it a name, like Content, and pick Item Text this time. Click Save afterwards.
Now that we have got our two data fields we can move to the next step. Click Next Step to proceed. You should now see a preview of your new RSS feed on the next page.
Select your content fields at the bottom and save them as a group. This ensures that the program will always pair them up.
You can then save the app. You need an account to do that. Account creation is not complicated and done in less than a minute.
The Use This Dapp module is then used to create the RSS feed. Click the Choose a format pulldown menu and select RSS Feed from the list. A click on Go creates the configuration options.
Here it is then necessary to select the Item Title and Text. Pick the right fields that you have created in the previous steps. You should see a preview of the RSS feed on the same page.
The RSS feed link is displayed as well. Just copy the feed url and paste it into your feed reader
You need to repeat the steps for every Google Plus stream that you want to monitor in your RSS reader. Dapper sometimes had issues displaying the Google Plus pages in their interface.
Update: Google seems to have blocked Dapper actively. Users receive the following message: Access to this site is disabled. Dapper users have been blocked by the content owner of this site. Sorry.Advertisement