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.

create new dapp

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

google plus rss feed

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.

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Click Save Field and enter a name for it (e.g. Name). Leave everything else as default and click Save.

rss field

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.

google-plus-messages

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.

rss-feed

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

create rss feed

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.

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Responses to Use Dapper To Create RSS Feeds From Any Page, Including Google Plus Posts

  1. Cattleya September 2, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

    Very useful, I switched from Femtoo to Dapper because Dapper is much better and free.

  2. Robert Palmar September 3, 2011 at 2:37 am #

    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.

    • Martin Brinkmann September 3, 2011 at 9:32 am #

      To be honest, I have no idea what this word means and am to lazy to look it up ;)

      • Robert Palmar September 3, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

        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 :)

      • Robert Palmar September 3, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

        I should have added Dapper is a Germanic word
        coming from the Middle Dutch word for elegant.
        Making my comment all the more appropriate.

  3. Lorelle September 3, 2011 at 3:49 am #

    Nice! Thanks for following through on this and saving so many of us. Much appreciated.

  4. Travel Software September 6, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

    really very nice information..............

  5. Walta September 7, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

    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 ?

  6. tommy September 10, 2011 at 11:08 pm #

    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.

    Best regards,

    tommy

  7. Mike Poynton September 20, 2011 at 3:47 am #

    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?

    • Martin Brinkmann September 20, 2011 at 9:15 am #

      Have you tried a different web browser?

      • smek October 27, 2011 at 11:07 am #

        I get the same error (for Chrome 15 and IE 9) Google probable took mesasures?

      • Wykkochan November 1, 2011 at 11:03 am #

        I can't make it work , the "your browser configuration is not supported" message appears on firefox, chrome and iexplorer

  8. Jill Kocher September 27, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

    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.

    • Denny October 28, 2013 at 7:42 pm #

      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?

  9. Roman ShaRP September 28, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

    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).

  10. Wykkochan November 1, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    I found another site. http://plusfeed2.appspot.com

  11. Aaron Helton November 3, 2011 at 11:00 pm #

    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.

    • Martin Brinkmann November 3, 2011 at 11:16 pm #

      Aaron, that's bad. Thanks for letting everyone know.

    • Aaron Helton November 4, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

      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.

  12. Kimberly Castleberry November 19, 2011 at 6:55 am #

    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.
    Kim

  13. Tom March 15, 2012 at 6:53 pm #

    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.

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