'Links via Feedster' on Washington Post and New York Times sites

Written by Adrian Holovaty on December 6, 2004

Today's the deadline for the Feedster Developer Contest, and I'm about to send them my submission: A Firefox extension that displays related links, via Feedster, within article pages on the Washington Post and New York Times Web sites.

With the extension installed, you should see a "Links via Feedster" box on every washingtonpost.com or nytimes.com article. The box will contain a list of links to pages (usually on weblogs) that link to the article you're reading -- so that you can read what other people think of the article.

Here's an example of what it looks like on the Post's site:

Screenshot of Post sidebar

And here's the NYT equivalent:

Screenshot of NYT sidebar

It works by using a little JavaScript magic. When you load a WP or NYT news-story page, the extension works behind the scenes by searching Feedster for the URL of the page you're looking at. It grabs the results and puts them in a dynamically-created "Comments on this story" box. I've tried to make these boxes look similar to the respective sites' designs.

If no Feedster links are found, you'll see a "No links found" message within the box. You also might see "Loading..." within the box, if Feedster is being slow.

Here's the extension:

Install it by clicking on it in Mozilla Firefox. You might have to explicitly "trust" this site as an extension provider, depending on which version of Firefox you're using.

IMPORTANT NOTE: By installing this, you acknowledge that the "Comments on this story" boxes are placed automatically by the extension, not by the Washington Post or New York Times themselves. Obviously, the newspapers are not to blame for any inappropriate links, strange juxtapositions...or anything, really. Also, Feedster does not necessarily endorse this extension.

UPDATE, Dec. 13: I've released version 0.2 of the extension. It's now been renamed to "News Story Expander" and includes direct, deep links to Feedster searches within the dynamically-created sidebar boxes. The link above now points to the new version.

The new version installs cleanly over the old version.


Posted by Robert Andrews on December 6, 2004, at 8:50 a.m.:

You may have noticed that the Wikiproxy does the same thing (and more) for BBC News stories, using Technorati.

Posted by Adrian on December 6, 2004, at 6:42 p.m.:

Robert -- Yup, I've seen Wikiproxy. The difference here, of course, is that you don't need to go to an outside site; it's within your browser.

Also, I've found the Technorati API to be extremely slow. I created a version of this extension using Technorati, and it was borderline-unusable. Feedster is much speedier.

Posted by Levi on December 8, 2004, at 10:57 p.m.:

So this is why Lawrence.com took too so long to get relaunched ;-)

Seriously, very cool, Adrian. Any thoughts about doing something similar for any or all of our three sites?

Posted by Robin on December 9, 2004, at 12:02 a.m.:

The innovation here isn't the Feedster cross-referencing (which is cool) but rather the seamless integration with news pages.

Imagine a similar plugin that pulled in not Feedster links but snarky commentary from a specific author. Or a little Flash map. Or a rating from a collaborative filtering system! I doubt I'd bother with any of those features if they just ran on some external site; but inline on nytimes.com pages? Hell yeah!

Too cool, Adrian.

Posted by Simon Willison on December 30, 2004, at 5:46 p.m.:

It seems that congratulations are in order! Well done, Adrian :)

Posted by David Sifry on January 14, 2005, at 9 a.m.:


Are you still finding the Technorati API too slow? We've made a lot of speed improvements of late. Would love to see this plugin using the Technorati API...


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