Getting more media sites in Flock's mediabar, with Media RSS

Published on 17 July 2008

Flock 2.0 is on its way to the final release, and many of you have noticed that besides all the Firefox 3 goodness, the experience is pretty much the same as in Flock 1.2. Well, it’s pretty much the same, not exactly the same. One discreet feature is the recognition of Media RSS feeds for the mediabar.

While Flock has been doing a lot of service-specific integration, it has never been the intent for the long term. We do service-specific because we have no choice, but we are eager to support open standards (and promote them) as they get available. Our blog editor had support for MetaWeblog and ATOM Publishing Protocol from the beginning, and now it’s the turn of the mediabar to get some open standard love.

Media Discovery

What does it mean for you, the user? Well, it means that besides the 7 supported services, you can consume content from any website that advertise an RSS feed. You can try it, in Flock 2.0beta2. Here is a selection of websites:

So when you visit a page with a media rss feed, you can see it in the mediabar and subscribe to it. It gives a experience similar to Flock’s news reader, but with an experience more tailored to media content (images and videos). But there is more. It’s really an advanced feature, but if a website provides a media rss feed for a given search result, you can use that to add search in the mediabar.

Example: Hulu Hulu is a website with TV content from the major networks (FOX, NBS, PBS…) with limited advertisement. You can get search for it in Flock’s mediabar, again that’s for Flock 2.0beta2:

  1. Open the URL “about:config”</li>
  2. Search for “rssSearch”</li>
  3. Change the value of flock.photo.rssSearch to: [{“hulu”:{“id”:”hulu”,”title”:”Hulu Videos”,”url”:”http://www.hulu.com/feed/search/%s”,”icon”:”http://www.hulu.com/images/hulu.ico”}}]
  4. Open the mediabar

Voilà! You can now search for your favorite TV shows in the mediabar.

Get support for your site

If you have a feed with images or videos on your website/blog, you can get it in Flock’s mediabar pretty easily.

The easiest way is to pipe your feed through Feedburner, making sure you enable their SmartCast feature. Feedburner will nicely add the required markup to your feed (and they have a lot of other features too).

If you’re tech savvy and you’d rather do it your way, there is some documentation that I wrote for that.

TAGS: flock  hacking