Using the RSS Feeds in the BDCA Gallery
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Author:  Roger Cooke [ 31 Dec 2020, 13:11 ]
Post subject:  Using the RSS Feeds in the BDCA Gallery

I have recently been at the receiving end of some questions relating to the RSS Feeds "sidebar" which appears on the Gallery pages, the behaviour of which has changed of late with the latest generation of web browsers. I have no idea how many people subscribe to the Gallery RSS Feeds (and I am not aware of any way I can find this out) but on the assumption (a) that someone probably does, and (b) there may be others who don't know what they are and what they do, I felt a quick guide might be appreciated.

"RSS" is an abbreviation of "Really Simple Syndication", and RSS Feeds are intended, primarily for websites which have very dynamic content, to allow users to choose to be notified of updates and see a summary of these without having to log in and specifically look for updates. It probably won't escape your notice that the BDCA gallery doesn't really fall into the "very dynamic content" category, sadly!

The BDCA website, forum, and gallery were (unsurprisingly) put together by David and myself, with help from some skilled "grown-ups" where required, and we are steam-era cranemen not computer techy whizz-kids (sadly the "grown-ups have largely moved on and the ball is now in our court entirely). We had no idea what an RSS Feed was at the time, and certainly didn't specify that they should be included on the gallery. They are however a built-in option on the gallery software which the gallery currently uses, and selecting a "tick box" on one of the admin pages causes their inclusion. The tick box was evidently ticked, and hence they are, and always have been, present.

Most, if not all, web-browsers until some time ago seem to have been capable of interpreting such feeds in a fairly sensible way, so that if you were to click on the link for the RSS Feed for the latest gallery updates (for example) a web page listing those updates would usefully appear. However in more recent times browsers such as Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge have dropped in-built the "feed reader" capability, and, as a result, if you do this now you will see a page of XML text which to most people is not useful. As a result, modern browsers require a different approach, outlined below.

The latest browsers, such as Chrome and Edge, require a feed reader add-in to be installed in order to allow RSS Feeds to be correctly interpreted. There are many such feed readers available, one such for Chrome being "feeder", which can be installed from here: ... ated?hl=en

(Please note that this is not intended as a particular recommendation, it is merely the one I used to check that the feeds work properly. It has worked for me, but other feed readers are available). Other feed readers are available for different operating systems, for mobile devices, etc, and you should choose whatever is most appropriate to you particular device.

Once you have installed the feed reader add-on to your browser, you can either add the URL of the feed you wish to follow directly into the feed reader (there will be some sort of "add feed" or "subscribe to feed" option which allows a URL to be pasted in), or, when you click on the link on the Gallery webpage, your feed reader browser add-on should recognise that you've clicked on a link to an RSS Feed and give you an option to subscribe.

If you want to add the links manually, you will need to know the URLs for the feeds. These can be found by clicking on the RSS Feed link on the gallery page in your browser, and looking for a line of text beginning with a <link> tag and ending with a </link> tag, of which the following line is an example:


... in which case the URL you need is the bit between the <link> and </link> tags. Alternatively I have listed the links below:

All new comments: ... ent/newest
Comments on Gallery: ... per_item/1
Latest photos and movies: ... ery/latest
Gallery photos and movies: ... ry/album/1

(Please don't ask me what the differences between all of these are, I haven't yet checked them out and I didn't build the original gallery! I also don't think we actually have any movies).

The feed reader add-on will almost certainly add a feed reader tool icon to the tool bar of your browser (although how you see this icon will vary from browser to browser), and once you have done all of this, it should be possible to click on the icon and display the feed in a form that is similar to the attached image (this is using the "feeder" add-in linked above, and Chrome). IN this case, clicking on the "read more" link for an item will open the relevant gallery webpage.

I hope that the above may be of some use. If you have problems, feel free to post in reply to this and I will try to address the issues. If you do use the feeds, it would be interesting to know (if nobody uses them we might as well remove them).


File comment: Feed Screenshot using Feeder and Chrome
Screenshot 2020-12-30 230206.jpg
Screenshot 2020-12-30 230206.jpg [ 120.95 KiB | Viewed 4871 times ]

Author:  David Withers [ 01 Jan 2021, 11:41 ]
Post subject:  Re: Using the RSS Feeds in the BDCA Gallery

Until very recently I was a regular user of RSS Feeds (without understanding what they actually were!). I found them valuable (a) as a reminder of the latest images loaded to the gallery and (b) especially in bringing new comments to my attention.

All was well until a few months ago when the facility was lost to me. I put this down to a failure in the gallery software, support for which discontinued several years ago*. I now realise, from Roger's explanations, that the loss in fact resulted from my change of browser from Internet Explorer to MS Edge.

By following Roger's guide I now have RSS Feeds again. Many thanks for the rescue!

That was on my desktop computer. I've always been unable to see the feeds on my iPad, simply getting a 'fail', but this wasn't a problem as I prefer viewing the gallery on my 24" desktop monitor. Clicking on RSS Feeds on the iPad now brings up an invitation to visit the app store and download an application, but I shan't bother.

* The gallery software was installed in 2010, very kindly free of charge, by a computer graphics engineer whom I lost contact with soon after. However the software became discontinued in 2014 and I didn't learn of this until several years later when image uploading started to be problematical. The need to move everything to a current platform was called for but I held back time after time as I couldn't fathom how to do it.

Roger to the rescue again! He investigated transference to a stable and fully supported base, found the most promising candidate, and is now steering around the inevitable obstacles.

Author:  Roger Cooke [ 01 Jan 2021, 13:21 ]
Post subject:  Re: Using the RSS Feeds in the BDCA Gallery

I don't have an Ipad so can't try anything using an Apple OS, but I have just added the feeds to an Android mobile device using a feed reader called "Aggregator", and can confirm that it works correctly.

I imagine that there must be a feed reader available from the Apple Store which would do the same for an IOS-based device such as your Ipad, if you wanted to try it. A quick search suggests something called "Newsify", although it must be said that the name alone is enough to put me off (is there anyone over five years of age working in IT nowadays).

Author:  David Withers [ 01 Jan 2021, 22:54 ]
Post subject:  Re: Using the RSS Feeds in the BDCA Gallery

Yes, there are several feed readers to choose from in the Apple store. I didn't download as I have no need of a reader for the limited purposes that I put my iPad to.

Author:  Roger Cooke [ 02 Jan 2021, 11:56 ]
Post subject:  Re: Using the RSS Feeds in the BDCA Gallery

No, I can quite understand. I have already uninstalled the one from my Android smartphone since in the few hours it was installed it was already being so intrusive as to be intolerable!

It did however allow me to establish that the feeds work in the way I think they should.

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