How do I parse RSS feeds?

RSS is a form of syndication in use by almost all blogs and many other types of web sites. It is a simple way to list, via XML, the latest content that has been updated on a web site. While parsing XML isn't difficult in ColdFusion, to work with RSS you have to have a good understanding of both the multiple "flavors" or RSS in use today as well a deep understanding of how the content is encoded within the XML. Luckily ColdFusion makes this relatively easy with the <CFFEED> tag.

As a simple example, consider this code:

<cffeed source="" query="content">
<cfdump var="#content#">

The source used in the <cfeed> tag simply points to the RSS file for the site. The query attribute tells ColdFusion to parse the RSS data into a query. You can also use the name attribute to create a structure of data.

In general, that's all you have to do. Sometimes though you do need to know a bit more about the RSS being used in order to properly use it. If you add the properties attribute than ColdFusion will return a structure of data about the RSS feed itself:

<cffeed source="" query="content" properties="p">

This can help you determine the best way to use the parsed data.

This question was written by Raymond Camden
It was last updated on December 20, 2008.




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