RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is often provided in a truncated version, meaning that only the title and a short excerpt of the content you want is provided.
This can often be problematic, both if you’re using the truncated RSS feed for your own personal use and if you’re using it to curate content on your site, such as through a WordPress plugin like WP RSS Aggregator.
Now there are a number of ways that this problem can be solved – for free and using paid services – and I’ll be going through them below. Just to clarify, these are in no particular order.
Five Filters offers a Full Text RSS service that enables you to transform a partial web feed into the full content, stripped of any clutter or ads. This will allow you to read articles in full, whenever and wherever you prefer.
Among the list of features offered by Five Filters you’ll find speedy article extraction which uses extraction rules to ensure that you get the most accurate results possible, auto-detection for those cases where no extraction rules exist, and language detection. It also provides multi-page support, enabling articles split across a number of pages to be joined back together, customizable extraction rules for those finer extractions, and multiple formats to get your results in (RSS, JSON or JSONP).
It offers a number of pricing options. Basic is a free service, Premium is from €5 per month, Developer is on a Pay as You Go format, while Self-Hosted is a one-time €20 payment that will allow you to host the service yourself.
Full Text RSS Feed Builder is a completely free service that will take your partial RSS feed and convert it into a full-text feed. Just enter the URL and it will supply you with the new one.
Its simplicity and ease of use comes at a slight cost in that it doesn’t offer the level of features that some of the other services do. Having said that, it does however preserve the images included in the content, which is always a good thing. It’s also constantly updated and works with your reader, autoblogger or Kindle.
Even though it’s free you have no worries of any ads popping up anywhere and you can even donate to the cause to keep this service going strong.
Another such service is WM Utils. Once again this is completely free and it can take a shortened RSS feed and convert it into a static full text RSS feed.
An ideal tool for any bloggers or users of news readers, this service allows you to simply copy in the URL of the truncated RSS feed and it will do the rest for you. If it’s able to extract the full-text from the RSS feed you provide, you’ll then be given a link to the newly generated full-text feed which you can open in any browser or RSS feed reader.
Update June 2016: This service is no longer active.
Another free service to convert partial RSS feeds into full text is Feed Enlarger. Yet again it’s as simple as entering the URL of your partial feed, but this time you’ve got a few extra settings you can set.
Primarily, you can choose the number of feed items you want (maximum of 10), then following that is a neat feature that allows you to choose whether you want to preserve any links within the content. By default, these are preserved, however Feed Enlarger gives you the option to remove them completely or even include them as footnotes. You also have an option to keep or remove an item from the feed if the extraction fails, and last but not least you have options for a JSON output and debugging.
Yet again, while this is a free service, there is the option to donate any amount you wish to this service to keep it running smoothly.
WizardRSS is as simple a service of this kind as you will find. Just enter the partial feed’s URL and click on the Create button. WizardRSS will do the rest, providing you with the full text feed in no time.
As I mentioned in the introduction, the WP RSS Aggregator plugin allows you to create a feed reader/aggregator on your WordPress site, and it’s got quite a few additional features to go along with it too.
One of these is the Full Text RSS Feeds add-on. This add-on provides connectivity to its Full Text RSS Feed Premium service that offers the full text for an unlimited number of feed items per feed source.
This add-on was designed to work in conjunction with another of WP RSS Aggregator’s add-ons, Feed to Post, which allows you to import feeds and store them as posts or any other custom post type that you might use. It provides you with the full content for these posts/articles.
As you can see there are a number of free solutions to the problem of partial RSS feeds (as well as some paid ones).
So if you ever come across a site that only provides a partial feed, you now know where to go.
Have you come across or used any of these or any other full-text services? What were your experiences with them? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.