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Web Design and Development
Getting Started

Meerkat: An Open Service API
Pages: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5


How about a few more real-world examples to get you started?

Example 1: "Show me today's Macintosh-related stories as RSS 1.0 and go ahead and include the Dublin Core metadata."
p=1065       This is a simple one since a Meerkat global profile (#1065) exists for Macintosh stories.
_fl=xml       Use Meerkat's XML flavour.
Example 2: "I'd like to, as simply as possible, insert the latest Wireless stories into my home page."
        <script language="JavaScript"

p=9       Let's make use of another of Meerkat's predefined profiles (#9).
_fl=js       Return the stories as a .js file.
Example 3: "Let's build an RSS channel devoted to Apache modules."
t=ALL       Use an unrestricted time window.
s=mod_       Search for any occurrence of the substring "mod_" in the story title or description (e.g. "mod_perl").
_fl=rss       Output as an RSS channel, please.
Example 4: "I want to use my Palm Pilot and AvantGo to grab just the latest stories and their descriptions."

_ca=0       Turn off category display.
_ch=0       Turn off channel display.
_da=0       Turn off date display.
_fl=minimal       Invoke the "minimal" Meerkat flavour.

A few notes on constructing URLs using the various flavours and other customization parameters. Be sure to prepend the list of parameters with a ? mark; this should come right after the basic Meerkat URL like so: http://meerkat.oreillynet.com/?. Also, you must separate each parameter with an &, as in s=linux&_ca=0&_fl=xml.


Build something wonderful ... and remember to keep it open and let people know about it! And, if you're so inclined, spread the Meerkat word with a nifty "Meerkat Powered!" button. To do so, simply copy-and-paste the following HTML into your document:

<a href="http://meerkat.oreillynet.com">

Hopefully I've succeded in providing a useful and well-documented Open Service and API. As usual, I welcome any constructive criticism you might offer. Please post your suggestions, bug reports, and other feedback (maybe praise?) to the O'Reilly Network RSS Forum.


The following is a list of starting points from which to explore further some of the topics covered (or not) in this article.

Rael Dornfest is Founder and CEO of Portland, Oregon-based Values of n. Rael leads the Values of n charge with passion, unearthly creativity, and a repertoire of puns and jokes — some of which are actually good. Prior to founding Values of n, he was O'Reilly's Chief Technical Officer, program chair for the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference (which he continues to chair), series editor of the bestselling Hacks book series, and instigator of O'Reilly's Rough Cuts early access program. He built Meerkat, the first web-based feed aggregator, was champion and co-author of the RSS 1.0 specification, and has written and contributed to six O'Reilly books. Rael's programmatic pride and joy is the nimble, open source blogging application Blosxom, the principles of which you'll find in the Values of n philosophy and embodied in Stikkit: Little yellow notes that think.

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