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
Very useful, I switched from Femtoo to Dapper because Dapper is much better and free.
Well, well, well. Dapper is dapper indeed.
I’ll be putting this to immediate use.
Nice how-to too to make it easy.
And you’re looking dapper yourself, Martin.
To be honest, I have no idea what this word means and am to lazy to look it up ;)
You are excused, being German.
And dapper is not used much here
these days but it is a grand old word.
Oxford English Dictionary:
Of persons: Neat, trim, smart, stylish
To be known as dapper is a good thing :)
I should have added Dapper is a Germanic word
coming from the Middle Dutch word for elegant.
Making my comment all the more appropriate.
Nice! Thanks for following through on this and saving so many of us. Much appreciated.
really very nice information…………..
in case someone wants to feed his created Google+ RSS into social network site like facebook, the they can use the free service on http://www.dlvr.it
Does anyone know other services like Dapper and DLVR to create and feed a RSS for free ?
Thanks for this great post!
@Walta: I just discovered ifttt.com – it’s a great app with many possibilities in using trigger and action channels for cross-publishing your posts into different social networks or other apps.
Tried your tutorial. Got to step 3 and got the: “Your browser configuration is not supported. Learn more. Update to a modern broweser Dismiss”. No Google+ posts appeared so selecting their content was impossible. Ideas?
Have you tried a different web browser?
I get the same error (for Chrome 15 and IE 9) Google probable took mesasures?
I can’t make it work , the “your browser configuration is not supported” message appears on firefox, chrome and iexplorer
This is great for public posts, but what I really want is a feed of my private posts to specific Circles on G+. For example, if I post “Comment A” on G+ to my “Friends” Circle, I want a feed item to be generated that only includes posts on G+ to my “Friends” Circle such as “Comment A.” The end goal is to use IFTTT.com to pass that “Friends” Circle RSS item to my Facebook profile. But with posts to other G+ Circles, I would want a different RSS feed so I could IFTTT it to LinkedIn or Twitter or Gmail lists, or whatever the appropriate end audience is. Basically, I want G+ to be my mouthpiece, and I want G+ RSS feeds for individual G+ Circles to funnel through IFTTT to my various other networks and communication vehicles.
I’m trying to do the exact same thing. Were you able to figure out a way to get your G+ posts to go to Facebook too?
Good thing. I just needed to make a custom RSS for Paul Krugman blog on social-europe.eu , and this worked out.
Had to switch to Chrome browser tough (something didn’t work with Firefox).
It should work on the majority of sites.
I found another site. http://plusfeed2.appspot.com
Seems like Google is blocking Dapper. I followed the directions, and when I got to the screen where it showed the Dapp URL, I saw this:
Access to this site is disabled
Dapper users have been blocked by the content owner of this site. Sorry.
Aaron, that’s bad. Thanks for letting everyone know.
I made a hasty post yesterday that didn’t fully capture what I was doing when I saw this (it was quittin’ time). Here’s what I was trying to do.
Since Google axed the social features from Google Reader and pushed the Like/Share functionality into Google+ via the +1 button, as well as removing the ability to follow other users, I thought I would see if I could get a feed of my public +1s at the very least, with the goal of being able to use that in different, possibly Reader-like ways. So I was using the instructions above to scrape my public +1s, and not my public posts. Now, loading up a public +1s page from Google+ does show that an RSS feed is available, but it is a Buzz feed of items that are no longer updating (and of course Buzz is going away).
I have a feeling that Google is blocking Dapper because Yahoo! owns Dapper, but I could be wrong. It’s possible they would block any third party scraper to force people into their version of social networking, but it sort of stinks either way.
Hey Martin, great post. I’m currently getting a internal server error from dapper when trying to create a new dap. Are you seeing the same thing and do we know if this service still exists? Yahoo has killed off so many properties and services I’m wondering if I’m wasting my time waiting on it to come up.
I’m also getting an error right now, service feels slow as well. I suggest you take a look at Yahoo Pipes instead, great service. http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/
Martin, did you manage to get Pipes to generate a feed? I’m not skilled with pipes and every time I gave it the url it gave me an error. I may need a class in pipes! (Or another great tutorial post from you!)
Kim, while it is possible, it is not that trivial to do. You can alternatively try the following two Website to RSS services (free): https://www.ghacks.net/2011/10/21/feedbeater-create-rss-feeds-email-alerts-for-any-webpage/ or https://www.ghacks.net/2010/09/23/how-to-create-custom-rss-feeds/
Looks like there’s another work around, at least for now: https://plusfeed2.appspot.com/ (note the very slightly different URL)
Oh, it is the same service that I reviewed when it first came out, only the url has changed. https://www.ghacks.net/2011/07/13/google-plus-rss-feeds/
Yup exactly. I tracked the service back to the creators G+ account and then from there did some digging. That second developer re-optimized the code so it wouldn’t be averaging the guy $100/day to run the service (Due to Google starting to charge developers for querying the API like that). I don’t know if ti will be a permanent solution or not but thought you may not have seen the updated link and the story behind it. Enjoy! (While we can! LOL)
Great find Kim, I have added the new information to the original article.
just tried the Dapper setup for my new G+, on circles stream.
the Dapper setup page shows a google page that wants a login.
that makes sense since the G+ is a closed social environment, so how am I supposed to get Dapper to get to the page?
Make Dapper a shared person on my G+ account?
the public posts seem to work but am having some issues there too.