Andy Davies

From RSS to Delicious via ping.fm and Twitterfeed

One of my continuing frustrations in the love/hate relationship I have with delicious is there’s no easy way of getting items from an RSS feed into delicious.

I’ve got stuff I’ve ‘liked’ in FriendFeed, starred items in Google reader, favourites on Slideshare, Twitter etc, that I want to pull directly into one place and that place is delicious, but it seems delicious aren’t interested in making my life easy.

Apart from bitching on the delicious forums, I’ve been fiddling with various ways of filling the gap for a while and finally I think I’ve found a way of partially filling it using ping.fm and twitterfeed. It’s got a few limitations but it may be good enough for now.

Here’s a list of the steps needed to get things up and working:

  • If you don’t have a ping.fm account already, head over and create one

  • Add your delicious account so that ping.fm can post to it (warning you have to give them your delicious password)

  • Add some form of micro-blogging/blogging account too. This is needed for the link from twitterfeed to work, I used tumblr (but again I have to give my tumblr password, has no-one heard of OAuth?)

  • Now head over to twitterfeed, and create an account if you need one.

  • Create a new feed for ping.fm

You’ll need your ping.fm API key which you can get from ping.fm/key, and you’ll also need to pick a posting method - I chose ‘microblogging’ ( but I wasn’t able to make any choice until I added the tumblr account)

Add in the details of the feed you want to push into delicious along with how often the feed should be checked - I choose to have the feeds checked as often as possible and have as many items as I can pushed across.

By default twitterfeed shortens URLs using tinyurl, you can either stick with this or choose an alternative (I used bit.ly, but that’s just a personal preference)

Finally in the field ‘Prefix each tweet with’ add ‘@de’, this tells ping.fm to forward the item to delicious

  • Repeat the above step for as many feeds as you want to pull into delicious

Hopefully, if everything is right you should soon have items arriving in your delicious account.

The approach does have a few drawbacks though:

  • twitterfeed shortens the URLs, and delicious has no way of expanding them, so the tags from other users can’t be applied to bookmark. The original URL being destroyed will also be a problem for people who use delicious to keep track of others who bookmark their blog posts.

  • The first time twitterfeed does it’s thing it only collects the most recent RSS item so all the other items remain uncollected.

  • twitterfeed only collects five items at time from each feed so it may be possible to build up a backlog if you added a lot of items to your feed

  • You have to give ping.fm your delicious login details and probably login details for another service too

  • The bookmarks bypass my delicious inbox and I’m not sure whether this is a good thing or not - I don’t always want to keep all the items I like of Friendfeed, or star in Google Reader so having them arrive in the inbox for a final last filter seems like a good idea

  • If a item already has tags in the feed delicious can’t make use of them.

As a word of warning I’ve also got no idea what happens if one of the items already exists in my delicious collection and ping.fm tries to add it from a feed, so perhaps I need to check that.

It’s an imperfect solution but I’m going to give it a go for a while to see how it works, ultimately this is something delicious and other social bookmarking sites should provide, indeed if one of the other sites introduces the ability to add bookmarks from RSS I’m likely to jump ship and leave delicious behind.

Finally if you do decide to go down this route think about making a donation to twitterfeed, Mario offers a great service for free.

(Oh and thanks to Scoble, whose broadcast of his plan for world domination led me to checkout ping.fm)

If anyone comes up with any improvements or alternative ways of tacking this, I’d be very interested in hearing them.

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