Visualising Syndication Feeds

Visualising Syndication Feeds


Yay, pretty graphs! This is what happens when you combine fun things - in this case, FEED's database and Graphviz.

Oooooh, Shinyyy

Did I mention that I like a good graph every now and then? I'm sure I did. Here's a pretty one:

FEED Database + Graphviz = Fun SVGs

So, how'd that happen? Well, basically, I was trying to come up with new ways to visualise and present syndication feeds - seeing as how I just released the second version of my command line feed reader. As it turns out it's been a really good idea to use SQLite to store all the data it downloads, because that made it really, really easy to rig up a shell script to convert the database's contents to a DOT file and feed it to Graphviz. That pretty picture there is a freshly cleaned database with Slashdot, TheDailyWTF, XKCD and this here blog added as feeds. Turned out quite well, really.

Graphviz is smart enough to allow hyperlinks to be placed in SVG output, meaning you can actually click on the individual entries in the graph. Might come out a bit small though, so click on the "source SVG" link if you want to zoom in a bit. The script is in FEED's git repository, and will, of course, be included in the next release. Promise ;).

I wonder what would happen if I could find a few feeds that cross-reference each other...

Written by Maggie Danger ().