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A Reader Asks:

I’m trying to follow a website in Feedly, but there’s no RSS feed! Google Reader used to offer the ability to follow any kind of website, regardless of whether or not the site offered RSS. One of the websites that I’m trying to follow is Art Travel, but unfortunately, it doesn’t offer any kind of feed.

I’ve tried several options, like creating a feed using an online service, such as Page2RSS (among several others). Most of these services don’t work or limit the number of times the service checks for new feed items. Also, the Feedly channel on If This Then That (IFTTT) only works for Feedly Pro users, which requires payment.

Is there an alternative?

arttravel image

Kannon’s Reply:

Lots of sites nowadays don’t offer RSS (what’s RSS? What Is RSS and How Can It Improve Your Life? What Is RSS and How Can It Improve Your Life? Read More ) or other news feeds. Getting an RSS feed for an RSS-less site sucks. That’s because the majority of feed creating services rely on web crawlers or web scrapers. Web crawlers/scrapers vary in quality. Some function on specific kinds of sites but not others. Of the many kinds of products out there, Kimono offers the most amount of versatility but with a fair amount of complexity, relative to services like Page2RSS.

My recommendation: Use Kimono. It can do a lot more than simply generate an RSS feed. For our purposes, we’ll focus on its most salient feature: Artificially generating RSS feeds. It can update feeds as quick as once per hour. And it offers near limitless flexibility, such as providing web scraping capabilities.

Getting Started with Kimono

Kimono offers a Chrome extension. If you never installed the Chrome browser (our Chrome guide The Easy Guide To Google Chrome The Easy Guide To Google Chrome This Chrome user guide shows everything you need to know about the Google Chrome browser. It covers the basics of using Google Chrome and also outlines more than a few advanced tricks. Enjoy! Read More ), download and install it. The icon then appears in the upper-right side of the browser, along with any other extensions.

kimono chrome interface1

Navigate to the website you want the feed for. For example: Art Travel. Activate the extension by clicking on the icon. Next, you’ll see Kimono’s interface, which overlays over the website you’re creating a feed for. It looks like this:

kimono interface 2

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When you first run the Kimono extension, a brief tutorial initiates. I recommend paying careful attention to the instructions, in case you need to use the extension for another project in the future.

The Kimono extension can identify website content that renews on a regular basis. However, you first need to identify which content on the page updates on a regular basis. Then left-click on each element within the website you want to receive updates on. For example, click on the titles of each section. I took the liberty of using Kimono to mark each component within the website that you might want updates for. In this case, select the titles of each article on the front page.

kimono interface operating on art travel

After you’re finished, select Done, from the upper-right side of the browser window. Next, you’ll get redirected to Kimono’s Application Programming Interface (API) customization page. Don’t let the API’s complexity deter you. You only need to locate the API’s RSS feed from this section. It’s located in the upper-left side of the interface.

kimono interface

Here’s a closer look.

rss location kimono

To get the feed, left-click on rss and then copy the URL into Feedly. For the uninitiated, the URL is the same as the web address. Just click on the web address bar and then right-click, selecting copy from the context menu.

When you copy the URL into Feedly, it looks like this:

feedly insert rss link

And then you’re finished! I recommend sticking your link into its own Feedly folder (our Feedly guide Unofficial Guide To Feedly: Better Than Google Reader Unofficial Guide To Feedly: Better Than Google Reader Do you hunger for the best desktop and mobile RSS reader ever made? For both the hungry and the hopeful, Feedly satisfies. Read More ).

Spread the Word About RSS

Kimono offers elegance, power, and efficiency. Even then, my recommendation is: Contact the website owner and request an RSS feed.

RSS in recent years has been under assault from large information companies, such as Google and Facebook, because it offers users a tool for weeding out unwanted content. First, Google killed Reader Reader Is Dead: What Technology Could Google Kill Next & How Can You Protect Yourself? Reader Is Dead: What Technology Could Google Kill Next & How Can You Protect Yourself? First they came for Buzz and no one cared. Then they came for Notebook. Now they've come for Reader. What technology will Google take away from you next? This article explains several Google technologies that... Read More . Then Facebook made RSS updates difficult to find. And finally Yahoo killed Pipes (here are 13 alternatives to Yahoo Pipes The 13 Best Yahoo Pipes Alternatives You Should Look at Today The 13 Best Yahoo Pipes Alternatives You Should Look at Today Yahoo has finally given up on Yahoo Pipes. So, for all of us who relied on Yahoo Pipes to clean up dodgy RSS feeds, we need an alternative. And fast. Read More ). Many of us fear that they may eventually kill off FeedBurner They Killed Reader And iGoogle - What To Do If FeedBurner Is Next They Killed Reader And iGoogle - What To Do If FeedBurner Is Next Google is commendable for being so willing to experiment with new potential products. Where would we be if they never fooled around with, say, Gmail or AdSense? Yet it seems like for every product that... Read More .

The idea that you deserve control over information remains antithetical to big data companies. By demanding that websites include RSS, we encourage an information delivery system that caters to consumers, rather than to conglomerates.

Alternatives to Kimono

If Kimono proves too complex, many alternatives exist. You’ve already mentioned Page2RSS, so I won’t bring it up. To be honest, it has never worked well for me, either.

  1. Jason Tremere
    October 29, 2016 at 10:59 am

    I tried FeedYES.com mentioned in the article, it's dead:

    Early 2006 we launched a service to provide RSS feeds to websites without feeds.
    The service grew to over 80.000 users, but due to increasing cost of our infrastructure we have ended the service
    In order to comply with privacy rules, we have deleted all user data.

    == Domain name is now for sale, for inquiries, email us at our info email address

  2. saurabh gayali
    February 16, 2016 at 10:20 am

    Very sad. Kimono is going to shutdown :(

    • Kannon Yamada
      February 16, 2016 at 6:06 pm

      They're a really ethical company. They have released several kinds of software that allows you to perform the web crawl on your own computer:

      https://www.kimonolabs.com/desktop

      So we won't even need to use Kimono's service anymore.

      • saurabh gayali
        February 17, 2016 at 5:29 am

        I remember they saying coming soon on window section. Only Mac app available making most of window user unable to use it or shift to mac. I just wished they release a window version before shutting down. Mac is not free yet and is too tough to shift to.

        • Kannon Yamada
          February 17, 2016 at 5:03 pm

          They should release the Windows tool between now and when they close on the 29th. If they don't, I assume they'll extend the end of their service.

          There's also the chrome extension. They claim it allows Kimono to run direct from your browser.

        • saurabh gayali
          February 17, 2016 at 6:03 pm

          I wish so.

          Kimono chrome extension does help you create api visually but they are all stored on kimono server and run there only.

        • Kannon Yamada
          February 17, 2016 at 6:14 pm

          According to their last email, it sounds as if they are updating the Kimono chrome extension so that it can somehow run Kimono's webcrawler. Perhaps I misread it?

  3. David
    January 20, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    http://www.changedetection.com also allows you to subscribe to ANY page's changes via email OR just an RSS feed, all free. No limits.

    ChangeDetection.com is a site I've been using for many many years, they have no sign of faltering. They must be well funded privately or something.

  4. Daniel Escasa
    August 26, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    <quote>
    To get the feed, left-click on rss and then copy the URL into Feedly.
    </quote>

    You might also be able to right click on the button, then select Copy link location from the context-sensitive menu. Saves from having to open a new tab just to get the URL

    • Kannon Yamada
      August 28, 2015 at 3:40 am

      Great tip! Thanks Daniel!

  5. Lucciola Ed
    August 24, 2015 at 11:12 am

    Please disregard my question earlier. Turn out you need some time for the API to sniff out the updates. Hehe... My bad.

    • Kannon Yamada
      August 24, 2015 at 11:54 pm

      I didn't mention it in the article, but users can specify the exact frequency with which the crawler updates. It can be as rapid as every hour or once a week.

  6. Lucciola Ed
    August 24, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Hi, I tried this method with GoComics strips Non-Sequitur (http://www.gocomics.com/nonsequitur). I choose the Date and Comic Panel as my defined 'property'. However, the Rss feed doesn't turn out well.

    https://www.kimonolabs.com/api/rss/3nacww26?apikey=2hWMGctoEjVnuo1gwZkXI7qZpELKXvmo

    I wondered if I did something wrong during the setup. Can you help?

  7. Smart Webtech
    August 20, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    Kimono is awesome tool to use.I am web scraper and used kimono for many data scraping projects.

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