About At A Glance

At A Glance pulls together news from all corners of the W3C working world into a coherent, hierarchical view of the organization's recent activities. It is an RSS 1.0 news feed aggregator that interacts with the W3C's authorization system to provide news to all interested parties with additional news for logged in users. Users with login rights may customise which feeds appear in a custom view.

At A Glance makes use of the Java toolkit Jena 1.6.0 and Apache's Tomcat server. It should be fairly simple to install and modify for other organizations with aggregator and/or authorization needs.

See the code behind Glance, originally designed and written by Eric Miller with further work done by Ryan Lee. For those within W3C who want to contribute to At A Glance, please see the feed creation how-to.


At A Glance was started in 2001 to provide a consumer for RDF-based RSS feeds using the Jena API to cover RSS parsing. While novel at the time, other projects now aggregate feeds in the same manner.

Configuring Glance with RDF

At A Glance basically uses RSS for configuring which feeds it will display. This central RSS feed, with a little embellishment from a small set of Glance and W3C-specific RDF terms, controls the public feeds.

Furthermore, the configuration files themselves are deduced from a combination of facts about the W3C's organization and the feeds themselves. The facts are run through cwm, a data processor and reasoner for the Semantic Web, along with some other structural and associative information and a set of rules. The conclusions reached become the configuration file.

Additional HTTP Basic Authorization-protected feeds are listed in their respective protection level configuration feeds; in the W3C's case, a member feed [members only] and a team feed [team only].


Cutomisations are accomplished using cookies to track user sessions. To illustrate the simplicity of switching from one view to another in Glance, a base personal configuration feed can be configured on the preferences page with the custom results being displayed on the login page.

Customisation Import/Export

Customisations can be exported from the preferences page to RDF. The resulting file can then be saved to a local file and later uploaded or stored in the web and imported from a URI.

Embellishing with Outside Feeds

A customised Glance file can be edited to include feeds not in the standard Glance model from sources not directly related to the W3C. For instance, Ryan's feed includes his own personal website's RSS feed.

Similar Projects

NewsMonster also uses Jena. Last Minute News by @semantics aggregates RDF feeds in Italian. IdeaGraph is a RDF-based desktop authoring tool which can aggregate RSS feeds. It also uses Jena.

To Do