Create an RSS Reader in Node

Create an RSS Reader in Node

RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, is a simple way to consume content from a web site in a standardized format. You can keep track of several different RSS feeds, and the content from each feed will be displayed in a single page, essentially making a news aggregator. A website can provide RSS feeds for articles, news, or any other type of content that they publish. Because RSS feeds are XML-based, they can be read by any computer program that can read XML files.

In this tutorial, we will learn how to consume RSS feeds using Node and an npm package called rss-parser. By the end of this tutorial, you will be able to consume RSS feeds using Node, like this:

Our RSS parser in Node

Prerequisites

  1. Basic knowledge of JavaScript.
  2. Basic ability to use a command line interface.
  3. Node and NPM installed. If you don't have them installed, follow our how to install Node guide.

Installing Yarn

We will be using Yarn to manage our dependencies. This step is technically optional because you can just stick to npm if you prefer. To install Yarn, run this:

npm install -g yarn

To test if you've installed Yarn, check the version:

yarn -v

If you see a version number, you're good to go.

Directory Structure

By the end of this tutorial, our app will be in the following directory structure:

app
├── node_modules
├── index.js
└── package.json

We will be using the package.json file to manage our dependencies. We will also be using the index.js file to serve as the entry point for our application. The node_modules directory will contain all of our dependencies.

Initializing the Project

Since this is a Node project, we will need to initialize it as an npm package. This will create a package.json file in the root of our project.

Run the following command to initialize the project:

npm init -y

This will create a package.json file for you. Feel free to change the name of the project, but we'll keep it as app.

Now let's install rss-parser, the library we will use to parse our RSS feed.

yarn add rss-parser

Or using npm, you can install it like this:

npm install rss-parser

Once you've done that, we are ready to write our parser.

Writing the Parser

With our npm dependencies installed, we can now write our parser. Create a file called index.js in the root of our project. Add the following code to the file:

import RSSParser from "rss-parser";

const feedUrl = "https://sabe.io/rss.xml";

const parse = async url => {
    const feed = await new RSSParser().parseURL(url);

    console.log(feed.title);

    feed.items.forEach(item => {
        console.log(`${item.title} - ${item.link}\n${item.contentSnippet}\n\n`);
    });
};

console.log("Parsing " + feedUrl);

parse(feedUrl);

Let's break down what we're doing here. First, we're requiring the rss-parser npm package. This is the library that we will use to parse our RSS feed. Next, we're creating a variable called feedUrl that will hold the URL of our RSS feed.

Next, we're creating a function called parse that will take in a single argument, url, and will parse the RSS feed. In this case, we are parsing the RSS feed of this very website, but you can parse any RSS feed you want.

Inside the parse function, we're using our RSSParser from the rss-parser library to parse the RSS feed. We're using the parseURL method to parse the feed. This method takes in a single argument, url, and returns a promise, which we are awaiting. The await keyword is used to wait for the promise to resolve.

Finally when the promise is resolved, we're logging the title of the feed. This is the title of the feed itself, and is the first thing that will be displayed after the RSS feed is parsed. Then we are logging the title of each item in the feed along with the link to the item.

Running the Parser

Now that you understand how the parser works, let's run it. To run the parser, run the following command:

node index.js

If you run it, you should see the title of the feed, followed by the title and link of each item in the feed. That looks like this:

Our RSS parser in Node

And in plain text, it looks like this:

Parsing https://sabe.io/rss.xml
Sabe.io

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As you can see, this is enough to get an idea for what content has been published, however you can log more information like the author, the publication date, and the actual content of each item. With rss-parser, you have full control over what you want to display.

Conclusion

RSS is a great way to keep up with the latest news and updates from your favorite websites. With rss-parser, you can parse those RSS feeds and display the content in any way you want. Hopefully this tutorial has helped you get started with RSS in Node. Happy coding!

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