Channel reports provide a flexible way to get an overview of the current
state of one or more channels. To use them effectively, you need to know
how channel filters work. Once you've
grokked that section, open the Channel reports dialog from the View menu.
There you will see several reports that have been set up for you already.
is fairly straight-forward. First, you choose a channel filter that controls
which channels will be included in the report. Then you can specify which
feed items should be included (all of them, only new ones or only unread
A template file can be specified that controls how the report is formatted.
If you don't specify one, the DefaultChannelReport.template file in your
user's home directory will be used. This produces a simple HTML page listing
the selected items for each channel that matches the controlling filter.
We will talk shortly about some of the other templates provided.
You can also control where the report is stored. By default a temporary
file is used and the report shown in a new window. However, you may sometimes
not want to see the report but instead just save it somewhere (as in the
My Blogroll example discussed below). In this case, just specify where
the report should be saved and uncheck the "Show results" option.
Finally, you can request that reports be automatically be regenerated
at regular intervals. This is most useful for keeping your blogroll or
PDA export page up-to-date, described in the next section.
Several different report templates are provided that produce reports
in a variety of formats. While the default template produces a simple
HTML summary page, ExportOpml.template lets you export your channel subscriptions
MyBlogroll.template is another format that produces a snippet of HTML
suitable for inclusion in your blog. One of the reports that will have
been set up for you filters your channels by the "My Blogroll"
category, generates the report using this template and stores the output
in the Reports directory. In fact, if you configure this report to be
automatically regenerated, you won't have to do a thing to keep your blogroll
up-to-date. Simply make sure that the channels you want included are assigned
to the "My Blogroll" category and Awasu will run this report
periodically, saving the results wherever you specify. All you have to
do is pick up the output and include it in your blog. Simple!
The same thing applies if you use a PDA for reading content offline.
CompactChannelReport.template produces a minimal report suitable for use
by a program such as Plucker that can
use it as a starting point for retrieving content and transferring it
to your PDA. Again, if the report is automatically kept up-to-date by
Awasu, all you will have to do is point Plucker to the report file and
tell it to start!
Meta-channels (channels that contain the aggregated content of several
other channels) is something that has been on the to-do list for a while.
And it still is :-) But in the meantime, creative use of channel reports
will let you have something that's almost as good.
First, create a report as per normal, choosing a filter to control which
channels to include and which items you want. For the template file, select
MetaChannel.template which will produce a report that is in RSS. Make
sure that the output is stored at a specified location (a .xml extension
is recommended) and the report auto-generated hourly.
Next, start the Channel Wizard and enter the path to the report file,
using the file:// protocol. In other words, if the report is being stored
in C:\TEMP\META.XML, the URL you want to enter in the wizard is FILE://C:\TEMP\META.XML.
This instructs Awasu to retrieve the RSS feed directly from a file instead
of getting it from the Internet.
Now what will happen is that Awasu will regenerate the report every hour
and save it in the specified file. Then when the channel updates, it reads
the latest report from that file (as RSS) and shows you the feed in exactly
the same way as it would any other channel!
The only caveat with this is that if you happen to see new items arrive
on one of the aggregated channels and go to update the meta-channel, you
will probably not see them in the meta-channel. This is because the report
needs to be regenerated first, before the meta-channel is updated (which
is reading its feed from that report file). These things will eventually
be done in the background by Awasu and so, as always, best results will
be obtained if you just leave Awasu to do its job and don't try to fiddle
with things yourself :-)
Meta-channels work really well with the SendEmail hook. Just create a
meta-channel to include the channels you are interested in and configure
it to send you an email when new items item are found i.e. when new items
arrive on any of the aggregated channels.
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