Using RSS Feeds

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a standard for syndicating frequently updated content from a site via a newsreader. Many public and private organizations and companies host such feeds to provide quick and easy access to information and services. Automator has a set of built-in actions for taking advantage of RSS feeds, that are demonstrated in the following three workflow examples.

EX-01: View New Trailers

This workflow will open pages in Safari, displaying the latest movie trailers added to the Apple movie trailers webpage. To accomplish this, the workflow will access an RSS feed from the Apple RSS Feeds webpage.

To construct the workflow, launch Safari, go the Apple RSS Feeds webpage, and click on the link for Latest Movie Trailers. Next, launch Automator and position a new workflow window in front of and below the Safari window displaying the latest movie trailer feeds. Drag the webpage proxy (the icon to the left of the website URL in the browser window) into the workflow area of the Automator document and release (see illustration below).

A new Get Specified URLs action containing the RSS feed URL will be added to the Automator workflow. This URL will be passed as input to the next action when the workflow is run.

Next, add the Get Link URLs from Articles action, found in the Internet library category, to the end of the workflow. This action will parse the RSS feed from the passed URLs and extract any links from their text. The resulting collection of link URLs will be passed to the next action.

The final action in the workflow wil be one for displaying the passed URLs in their own browser windows. Locate and add the New Safari Documents action (in the Internet action library) to the end of the workflow.

Run the workflow and new Safari browser windows will be created for each of the trailer webpages. Merge the windows into a single browser window by selecting Merage All Windows from the View menu in Safari. You can now broswe the trailers by clicking the tabs in browser window.