Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Yahoo! Groups - RSS Feeds Return

In August I wrote about the demise of the RSS feed feature associated with the new interface for Yahoo! Groups. In the intervening three months I've tried many ways to follow my groups but most were rubbish. Eventually I resorted to using email but it didn't really fit with the way I work and I started looking for a way to get my RSS feeds back.

When I started to use email I set up a filter (in Gmail) to label all group messages and mark them as read. This solved half the problem; I had all the group messages neatly filed and I didn't have masses of new mail messages interfering with my working day. What I needed was a way to convert these emails to an RSS feed then I'd have a full solution. I know this is possible as Gmail used to do this but sadly it doesn't any longer.

After I bit of research I tried two email to rss services. Both had problems, neither worked. One (www.mmmmail.com) wasn't receiving email the other (http://emails2rss.appspot.com) didn't provide a valid RSS feed! Frustrated, I then stumbled across a really simple solution and once I had this working I realised it could be simplified even further. Both methods assume that your RSS reader is the archival repository of your group emails and that you save (or star) important messages you want to keep in the RSS reader.

Warning
Both methods below involve the creation of a public RSS feed. Do not use either for private messages or any mesage containing confidentail information. The feed created by blogger is hidden in plain sight but it is open to anyone who stumbles across the site.

Solution #1 - Archival
This method assumes you already have:
  • A Gmail account or similar web mail account.
  • Filtered your group messages into a separate category or label.
  • An account at Blogger.com.
  • A working RSS feed reader.
Then:
  • Create a new blog at Blogger.com.
  • Set the blog to be invisible to search engines and opt-out of the Blogger directory.
  • Create a "secret" email @blogger.com so you can post to the blog via email.
  • Subscribe to the RSS feed of your new blog.
  • Set up the blogger email address as a forwarding address for Gmail.
  • Check the RSS feed for the validation message.
  • Use the code provided to validate the blogger email address with Gmail.
  • Delete the validation message from the blog.
  • Edit your email filter to forward all group mail to the blogger email address.
  • Enjoy your group messages.
Every once in a while you will need to:
  • Delete the group emails from the web mail account to save space.
  • Delete the group emails from the blog.

Solution #2 - Easy Peasy
This method assumes you already have:
  • An account at Blogger.com.
  • A working RSS feed reader.
Then:
  • Create a new blog at Blogger.com.
  • Set the blog to be invisible to search engines and opt-out of the Blogger directory.
  • Create a "secret" email @blogger.com so you can post to the blog via email.
  • Subscribe to the RSS feed of you new blog.
  • Set up the blogger email address as an alternative email address for Yahoo! Groups.
  • Check the RSS feed for the validation message.
  • Use the link provided to validate the blogger email address with Yahoo! Groups.
  • Delete the validation message from the blog.
  • Edit your Yahoo! groups to send all your group mail to the blogger email address.
  • Enjoy your group messages.
Every once in a while you will need to:
  • Delete the group emails from the blog.

Solution #2 is probably the best as most feed readers are set to delete unstarred posts at regular intervals leaving you with just the blog housekeeping. Solution #1 has the advantage that group messages are also available as web email messages but at the cost of additional housekeeping.

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