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RSS Explorer

Figure: Example view with anonymized recent changes data from four personal wiki workspaces

RSS Explorer is a general purpose application for aggregating and visually exploring web feeds. As a visualisation, RSS Explorer works best for perceiving small-scale features on smaller datasets (less then 500 items) that can be later generalised to larger datasets and analysed with other visualisations (such as DataBox).


RSS Explorer is built on top of Wille 2.2 and Wille Widget System. Wille Widget System is a light-weight JavaScript-based visualisation widget system with a reference dashboard implementation. Wille Widget System is bundled with and developed as part of RSS Explorer.


  • Wille 2.2.1

Brief Usage Guide


  • Download and install Wille 2
  • Download RSS Explorer (see end of this page)
  • RSS Explorer has same directory structure as Wille 2 Core.
  • Unzip the package to the Wille 2 folder by following the folder naming conventions (files under apps go to wille2/apps, etc.)


For validating your installation and using RSS Explorer, perform the following steps:

  • Start Wille Server (See GettingStarted)
  • Components in RSS Explorer use rss profile. If using profiles, make sure to enabled it.
  • If everything went okay, RSS Explorer will be available in Wille Server under /apps/rssexplorer

Importing Data

RSS Explorer uses Wille's user data directory as the source of input data. In order to add new data to RSS Explorer, take the following steps:

  • Locate your Wille's user data directory. The default location is [userhome]/willedata.
  • Add input data files user this directory.
  • When you reload RSS Explorer in your browser, it will rescan the input data directory for new files
  • Each file appears as an individual dataset in data collector widget

Data selection and Filtering

Data collector widget effectively works as an input data aggregator and filter. Items in each dataset are filtered against given expressions and are then aggregated into a final visualisation dataset.

  • Toggle whole datasets by using checkboxes
    • Each dataset is assigned unique ID and color in the final dataset
  • Filter out parts of data by giving regular expressions to filters.
    • Filters are inclusive: if given, only matching items are pass through
    • You may give any regular expression as a filter:
      • Example 1: Select all items that match a given date: 2010-04-27
      • Example 2: Select all items with title beginning with a number: ^[0..9]+


You may navigate through selected items by using any of the provided visualisation widgets. Each widget is used to display one facet of the data:
  • Use Timeline to navigate the data in temporal order
  • Tableviewer displays items as table rows and item properties as columns. The resulting table may be ordered using any property as sort key

Additionally, Wille Widget System provides integration between the various widgets:
  • When you hover over any item (or dataset), the corresponding item(s) are highlighted in all widgets
  • Clicking an item will make all widgets to change focus on the given item

Exporting Data

RSS Explorer does not explicitly support data export. In order to export data from it, we recommend the following approach:

  • Focus to Tableviewer widget
  • Select target items as table rows or press CTRL+A (in Windows) to select all data
  • Paste the selection to a text file or your favourite spreadsheet processor
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Topic revision: r23 - 29 Apr 2010 - 14:05:43 - JaakkoSalonen


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