Backfeed—an unforgettable feed processor
Backfeed takes an RSS feed and concatenates it with deduplicated historical items from the feed saved in the archive.org Wayback Machine. You’ll get a Backfeed URL to enter into your news aggregator or podcatcher which will give you access to a larger set of items than the official feed. This is useful when a RSS feed author includes only a few items in the latest feed, but you know there are older items which are just not listed. Using Backfeed you can access the maximum available feed content.
Update April 2016: Backfeed has become a victim of its own success (now serving almost 1 TB of feed data per month), so is moving to become a membership-only service. For the moment, access is only available by request (send an email to quinn at strangecode dot com). You will need a valid access key to use the service. If you are an existing Backfeed user, you will need to resubscribe to to all your feed URLs using an access key (sorry!).
- Request a backfeed access key (if you don’t have one yet). Enter it into the access key field above.
- Find the URL to an RSS or podcast feed. Enter it into the Feed URL field above.
- Click Backfeed it!
- Wait a minute for it to process.
- The new feed URL will be printed on your screen.
- Copy this new URL into your feed reader.
- What kind of RSS feeds can Backfeed process?
- Backfeed can process any XML-formatted RSS feed, for both podcasts and articles.
- Are all back items retrieved?
- Sometimes, it depends. Backfeed will retrieve up to 50 unique snapshots from archive.org. Usually that means much more than 50 individual items, if that many are archived for the feed. If a feed is updated frequently, and has a very large history, 50 snapshots may not be enough to include the full history.
- Some podcast episodes are missing!
- For feeds with linked media (such as podcasts) the existence of each file is confirmed. Episodes with missing media files (not uncommon for very old episodes) will be excluded from the Backfeed output.
- Is Backfeed bulletproof?
- Probably not! Backfeed is not mature software, and probably doesn't work with all URLs. If a Backfeed-generated URL works for you, it will continue to work as long as: a) the original feed URL does not change, b) archive.org continues to hold historical content for that URL, and c) Backfeed continues to operate as a service.
- What else can go wrong?
- It’s possible the XML structure of a feed is not understood by Backfeed, in which case it will dump an error.
- For prolific feed sources, Backfeed could create output which is very large, and may conceivably cause problems for some feed readers.
- Certainly, something I didn’t think of will break.
- Is this a free service?
- Free for now, but bandwidth costs have forced me to limit the number of people with access to the service. If you like Backfeed, saying thanks with cash will help encourage me to keep the service online. ;)
- What if I find a bug?
- If you have any problems contact me at @com on twitter or send an email to quinn at strangecode dot com.