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org-feed.el – add RSS feed items to Org files

This module allows to create and change entries in an Org-mode file triggered by items in an RSS feed. The basic functionality is geared toward simply adding new items found in a feed as outline nodes to an Org file. Using hooks, arbitrary actions can be triggered for new or changed items.

1. Example

This module is configured through a single variable, org-feed-alist. Here is an example, using a notes/tasks feed from

(setq org-feed-alist
         "~/org/" "ReQall Entries")

With this setup, the command M-x org-feed-update-all will collect new entries in the feed at the given URL and create entries as subheadings under the "ReQall Entries" heading in the file "~/". Each feed needs to have its own heading.

Besides these standard elements that need to be specified for each feed,, keyword-value pairs can set additional options. For example, to de-select transitional entries with a title containing reQall is typing what you said you could use the :filter argument:

(setq org-feed-alist
         "~/org/" "ReQall Entries"
         :filter my-reqall-filter)))

(defun my-reqall-filter (e)
  (if (string-match "reQall is typing what you said"
                    (plist-get e :title))

See the docstring for org-feed-alist for more details.

2. Keeping track of previously added entries

Since Org allows you to delete, archive, or move outline nodes, org-feed.el needs to keep track of which feed items have been handled before, so that they will not be handled again. For this, org-feed.el stores information in a special drawer, FEEDSTATUS, under the heading that received the input of the feed. You should add FEEDSTATUS to your list of drawers in the files that receive feed input:


3. Detailed description of org-feed-alist

Alist specifying RSS feeds that should create inputs for Org. Each entry in this list specified an RSS feed tat should be queried to create inbox items in Org. Each entry is a list with the following items:

a custom name for this feed
the Feed URL
the target Org file where entries should be listed
the headline under which entries should be listed

Additional arguments can be given using keyword-value pairs. Many of these specify functions that receive one or a list of "entries" as their single argument. An entry is a property list that describes a feed item. The property list has properties for each field in the item, for example :title for the <title> field and :pubDate for the publication date. In addition, it contains the following properties:

the full text in the <item> tag
t when the guid property is a permalink

Here are the keyword-value elements that can be configured

:drawer drawer-name
The name of the drawer for storing feed information. The default is "FEEDSTATUS". Using different drawers for different feeds allows several feeds to target the same inbox heading.
:filter filter-function
A function to select interesting entries in the feed. It gets a single entry as parameter. It should return the entry if it is relevant, or nil if it is not.
:template template-string
The default action on new items in the feed is to add them as children under the headline for the feed. The template describes how the entry should be formatted. If not given, it defaults to org-feed-default-template.
:formatter formatter-function
Instead of relying on a template, you may specify a function to format the outline node to be inserted as a child. This function gets passed a property list describing a single feed item, and it should return a string that is a properly formatted Org outline node of level 1.
:new-handler function
If adding new items as children to the outline is not what you want to do with new items, define a handler function that is called with a list of all new items in the feed, each one represented as a property list. The handler should do what needs to be done, and org-feed will mark all items given to this handler as \"handled\", i.e. they will not be passed to this handler again in future readings of the feed. When the handler is called, point will be at the feed headline.
:changed-handler function
This function gets passed a list of all entries that have been handled before, but are now still in the feed and have changed since last handled (as evidenced by a different sha1 hash). When the handler is called, point will be at the feed headline.

4. Acknowledgments

org-feed.el is based on ideas by Brad Bozarth who implemented a similar mechanism using shell and awk scripts.

Documentation from the website (either in its HTML format or in its Org format) is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License version 1.3 or later. The code examples and css stylesheets are licensed under the GNU General Public License v3 or later.