How to add RSS feeds to your Slack feed

Don't miss out on important news, because you spend too much time in Slack. Add RSS feeds to stay in the know.

If you're a hard-core Slack user, you might find yourself spending more time within the confines of that collaboration tool than any other. If that's the case, why not get your news there as well? Sound like something you might want or need? If so, it's a good thing Slack allows the addition of RSS feeds.

With this feature, you can always be up to date on your favorite topic-specific RSS feed from within your favorite Slack workspace. It's a one-two punch of efficiency. If that sounds like something you might want, let's see how it's done. 

SEE: Slack: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

What you'll need

The only things you'll need to make this work are: An RSS feed to follow and a Slack workspace that allows you to install apps. If your workspace doesn't allow the installation of apps, reach out to the Slack admin for your company or team and see if they can install the app for you.

The easiest way of installing apps on Slack is either via the desktop app or the web-based interface. With a bit of trickery you can install via the mobile app (I'll mention how later). I'll be demonstrating the installation on the desktop app. The good news is that, no matter which route you take for installation, the RSS feed will show up on your workspace, no matter if you're using the desktop app, the web-based interface, or the mobile app.

How to install the RSS app

Here are the steps for installing the RSS app within Slack:

  1. Open the Slack desktop app.
  2. Click the + button under Apps (Figure A).

Figure A

slackrssa.jpg

Adding an app to Slack.

3. In the resulting window (Figure B), type RSS and hit Enter on your keyboard.
4. Click the Install button associated with the resulting RSS app listing.
5. When your default browser opens, click Add To Slack and then click Allow.

Figure B

slackrssb.jpg

Searching for the RSS app.

In order to install the app on your mobile device, visit the App page on your mobile browser and follow the same steps as outlined above (minus the desktop app bits). The app page for the RSS app will be http://YOURWORKSPACENAME.slack.com/services/BP9L645QA, where YOURWORKSPACENAME is the name of the workspace you want to add the app to.

How to add a feed

With the app installed, we now have to add a feed. Say, for instance, you want to follow the TechRepublic Open Source feed. To do this, open the RSS app settings feed by clicking the Apps listing in the Slack app left sidebar. In the resulting window, search for  RSS and, when it appears in Slack (Figure C), click View.

Figure C

slackrssd.jpg

The RSS listing.

In the resulting window, click Settings which will open your default web browser. In that window paste the RSS address in the Feed URL text area (Figure D).

Figure D

slackrsse.jpg

Adding an RSS feed.

Next, choose where you want the feed to post. Click the Choose A Channel drop-down and select from either your username (which will send the feed as direct messages), to another user, or to a channel.

Once you've taken care of that, click Subscribe To This Feed and you're done.

At this point, every time a new post appears in the RSS feed, it will automatically show up in the channel or to the user you've configured.

And that's all there is to adding an RSS feed to Slack. If your workspaces allows it, this is a great way to stay informed, while remaining within your favorite collaboration tool.

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/oatawa