I’m trying something new here, starting today: I’ll be inviting (imploring?) different vendors to stop by here and explain, without marketing hype, why micro-ISVs should know about their software, service or product.
First up is Lance Robinson, one of the guys behind RSSBus.com. I personally think RSS has dozens of as yet untapped uses, and hope that micro-ISVs find and “productize” those uses.
Here’s what Lance had to say about RSSBus:
Imagine that you have a lot of data being stored in databases, files, QuickBooks, Amazon S3 buckets, etc. Tough to imagine, huh? Now imagine that you want to be able to provide yourself or your users with RSS feeds based on this data. You would need to take up your own valuable time or the time of one of your employees to familiarize yourself with RSS or Atom, do some C# (or some other programming language) coding to generate the feeds, spend time going back and forth with him/her about what it is you want in the feed, and then utilize the resources of a few more employees to test the new feeds to make sure there are no issues.
Or… you could just generate your feeds with a few clicks of the mouse using RSSBus.
RSSBus lets you generate RSS feeds in just minutes, and you can create the feeds out of whatever you want, with relative ease. Yes, I said whatever you want: data from QuickBooks, data from your database, files on an FTP server, Amazon S3 buckets, Google maps, local file listings, system process information, etc. For example, below is a snapshop of the RSSBus Admin Console, in which the sqlQuery operation has been chosen.
As soon as I click on “show feed”, my browser will launch showing me the RSS feed that was generated by this operation. This is what you’ll see in IE7:
I literally had to click the mouse 3 times in order to generate this feed, and I didn’t have to type in a word. Of course, as you can tell from the first picture, this is just generating a feed from the sample northwind database, so in order to get a feed of my real data I’ll need to specify the correct connection string first.
If I click on “create script”, the RSSBus Admin Console will create a script that can be called from outside the localhost, so that your new RSS feed can be exposed to the public (or if you want to keep the feed private only to your localhost, skip this step). If you’d like to see more, check out this screencast at rssbus.com.
As I said before, RSSBus lets you generate feeds from all sorts of data sources. Below is a list of the “Operations”, including SQL Operations, that RSSBus already supports. If you don’t see what you need here, never fear: RSSBus is extensible and we are continuing to write new operations every day. In fact, anyone with .Net development capability can create their own operations too!
- Amazon Ecommerce Services
- Credit Card Transactions
- FedEx, UPS
- Ftp, Sftp
- Google Calendar, Google Search, Google Talk, and GData
- Imap/Pop/Smtp (email)
- Instant Messaging (Sms/Smpp, Snpp paging, Jabber)
- Media (audio, image, video files)
- Ofx (bank/credit card/investment statements)
- Amazon S3
- Sql, Oracle, QBase
- Yahoo Services (geocoding, search, maps, stock quotes, traffic)
For creative technical users who want to do more with feeds, RSSBus has some advanced features as well.
RSSBus will allow you to take any RSS feed and script with it. The “Scripts” tab of the RSSBus Admin Console lets you create, edit, and manage scripts. With them, you can manipulate feeds: connect them to each other, pipeline them through computations or pass them to each other as input, edit pieces of them, add/remove information in them, etc.
On top of scripts, the “Templates” tab allows you to use the same scripting code and add in your own xml, html, text, etc. This way you can effectively visualize a feed any way you like. For example, you can turn an RSS feed into a Google Earth Kml file or Map.
RSSBus gives you the abillity to quickly create RSS feeds, create your own API, and move data around quickly with a minimum of development efforts or software to buy. One of the stated goals of RSSBus is to connect every system, data, or information source of any significance as simply and easily as possible. This brief introduction only scratches the surface, so if you would like to know more, visit www.rssbus.com or contact us with your questions and comments.