RSS, in case you didn’t know, is a format by which websites can provide a link to their latest news. It’s a simple XML file with a few standard fields like “item”, “link”, “description” and so on.

I’ve been using an aggregator program called Amphetadesk for a while, which runs on my local computer and serves a web page to the browser with links to the items on the syndicated sites. However, I thought that it would be preferable to run something on my web server so that I can access it anywhere.

So, after a quick bit of Perl, and in the style of Blosxom, I’ve made a simple RSS aggregator. It supports templates and weighs in at just 150 lines of code. It’s all done with regular expression hackery instead of a proper XML parser (Why? Because so many RSS feeds have illegal characters that won’t parse as XML) and seems to work pretty well so far.

It’s run as a cron job (a scheduled task) once every hour on the half hour, and produces a new HTML file. You can see my news feed at