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Create your own RSS feeds: The chemistry of users, posts, comments and tags

Zhigang Suo's picture

Say you have learned how to subscribe to RSS feeds using a feed reader, or an email account. You are ready to create your own RSS feeds.

A post is like an atom, and a feed a molecule. You can be a chemist to create your own molecules by discovering ways to form feeds. Here is the basic chemistry of posts.


  • User number. Each user has a user number. You can find the number of a user by clicking his name or photo anywhere on iMechanica. You can also search for a user. For example, when you click a photo of John Hutchinson, you will be on this page, user/452. The number in the URL, 452, is the user number of Hutchinson.
  • Node number. Each post has a node number. You can find the node number of a post by clicking the title of the post, and looking at the URL of the post. For example, the post, node/474, has the node number 474.
  • Tag number. Each tag has a tag number. You can find the number for a particular tag by clicking the tag. For example, the tag "Research" is a channel featured in the header of iMechanica. Clicking "Research", you will see the URL, taxonomy/term/76. The tag number is 76.

Rules of chemistry

  • All blog posts. blog/feed
  • Blog entries of a user. e.g., the feed for the blog entries of Hutchinson (user number 452) is blog/452/feed.
  • Comments on a post. e.g., for comments on node 474, the feed is crss/node/474
  • Posts with the same tag. e.g., for all posts in the Research Channel (tag 76), the feed is taxonomy/term/76/0/feed
  • Comments on all posts with the same tag. e.g., for all comments on posts in the research Channel (tag 76), the feed is crss/term/76.
  • Posts with at least one tag in a set of tags. For example, the feed taxonomy/term/357+445/0/feed gives you feeds of posts of both the Computational Mechanics Forum (357), and Technology Corner (445).
  • Posts with a set of common tags. For example, the feed taxonomy/term/527,528,529/0/feed gives you all posts of a course I taught, with tags ES 241 (Tag number 527), Advanced Elasticity (Tag number 528), and Spring 2007 (Tag number 529).

Tag numbers for channels featured in the header of iMechanica

  • Research 76,
  • education 128,
  • mechanician 75,
  • opinion 77,
  • industry 118,
  • conference 74,
  • job 73,
  • video 437.

Tag numbers for forums

  • Ask iMechanica 109,
  • Biomechanics Forum 362,
  • Computational Mechanics Forum 357,
  • Contact Mechanics Forum 596,
  • Experimental Mechanics Forum 361,
  • Fracture Mechanics Forum 666
  • Fluid Mechanics Forum 440,
  • Integrated Structures Forum 363,
  • Materials Forum 390,
  • Mechanics Course Forum 374.


I thank Michael H. Suo for showing me how comment RSS feeds work.

Free Tags: 
Henry Tan's picture

Can a "more" button be put under the "Recent comments" for convenience?

Zhigang Suo's picture

Dear Henry: I cannot find this button in Drupal. It should be a simple thing to do, but I don't know how.

However, I added a feed called "More comments" on the right side of iMechanica, using a module found by Michale Suo. It looks like an ugly hack, and we'll fix it when we have a better solution.

In general, a more effective way to track comments is to set up your own RSS feed reader. It takes 2 minutes to set up, and it is free.  In particular, if you use Google Reader, you can track many, many comments, as well as all posts.

Henry Tan's picture

Yes, it is!

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