Andre's Blog

20160809 Why I Have Spent My Time On Learning How To Implement my RSS Feed


Hi there!

I have spent some time to figure out how to implement my RSS feed.

You could ask the question :


Didn't you want to write about maintainable software, network programming, maybe quality and testing?

Why did you work on that RSS thing?!?

Yes. Good question.

RSS is a XML based protocol to provide information about available news. Usually web pages and blogs have RSS feeds which say "there is something new" when there is a new article or blog post available and you can receive the information, that there is something new, with a RSS client.

Some time ago I have learned how useful the Jenkins RSS feed can be. It tells you which jobs have run and which have failed.

You could say :

Ok, but I can look it up anytime I want, so where is the benefit?


But then you have to spend your time on polling this information by going to your Jenkins website and look for your jobs. I think it's much better to be notified about failed Jenkins jobs when they break and not to look for your Jenkins every five minutes.

But this does not answer why I wanted to learn how to implement RSS feeds, it just tells you why it makes sense that Jenkins has RSS feeds.

Yes, sure, I want to inform you on this way that there is a new blog post from me available on my page, so you don't have to go to my page every day to find what's new.

The reason why I wanted to find out how it works is, I have a lot of tests running at work where I need to know their states. I always look for automation options to reduce my workload. Often the state of a Jenkins job is not enough information, maybe you want to know which tests have failed or which device under test has problems and maybe you don't want to encode all information in your Jenkins job.

My idea is : I am already able to get all information automatically from my test results, so when I am able to encode this in RSS feeds, I can register my RSS client to poll it for me and just notify me about what is going on or what is going wrong.

Some years ago I have implemented a tool in Java which produces a web page with this content. Now I would just generate the RSS feed and the information about what goes on and the information would reach my colleagues automatically.

Being able to implement RSS feeds and to understand how to use them is one step into the direction of maintainable log files, because it simply does not help you to evaluate them automatically when nobody has the time to look into the results, especially when they are only interested in the problems. Instead of buying or implementing tools, which take care for the log-file-jungle, I think it is better to just fill the gaps with small scripts like the one I have implemented for my blog let my automation do the work.

My experience with RSS will tell me the next months if this idea is working or if RSS is the wrong format to transport such kind of information. For me it is an indication they use it for Jenkins, so it could really be a low hanging fruit to use it.

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