Channel hooks are a powerful feature of Awasu and transform it from being just another feed reader into something much more profound.
Like plugins, they are small programs or scripts that get run by Awasu but while plugins are used to generate feeds, hooks are run when certain things happen e.g. when a channel is updated or new items are found. In other words, they hook into the flow of information within a channel.
Why is this so important? Browsers such as Internet Explorer or Mozilla and every other feed reader available today are passive tools; they simply display the data as it arrives without understanding anything about what they are showing. Channel hooks let you monitor the information, analyze it and then respond to it.
Here are some examples of what channel hooks can do:
- A channel plugin gets the current stock levels in your warehouse from a corporate database and converts it into a feed which Awasu uses to constantly show you the latest information. Every time the channel is updated, a hook is also called that checks if anything is running low and if so, sends a request to your buying department to replenish it.
- Awasu monitors a channel that shows the current prices of shares in your stock portfolio. Every time the channel is updated, a hook is also called to check for sudden price movements. If something is detected, Awasu sends an urgent SMS message to your mobile phone to notify you and asks if you want to buy or sell any stock. You reply with an SMS message and Awasu forwards those instructions to your broker.
- If you are a researcher, you will probably have quite a few channels relating to your field of interest. A channel hook can be set up that gets called every time new items are found on any of those channels. The new items can be checked for certain words or concepts and if they match, recorded in a database. Leave Awasu running for a while and pretty soon, you'll have a database full of items directly related to the subject you are interested in.
Several channel hooks are installed as standard with Awasu and more are available on the Awasu web site. For example, this one stores new content in a MySQL database as it arrives.
More channel hooks are scheduled for the near future that will:
- send an SMS message to your mobile phone when new items are found.
- send an IM message when new items are found.
- show the current feed items for a channel in a ticker window .
- show an icon in the system tray for a channel that animates when new items are found.