Chumby RSS Reader


Introduction: Chumby RSS Reader

About: I decided a long time ago to change this text. Now, it still says this.

Chumbies are are awesome. RSS feeds are awesome. Why not combine the two? No, the double awesomeness won't hurt anyone, really. The reason is that flash is hard for the unexperienced. Here is a simple way to do it with an already-written program.

I will model it with Instructables, and you should be ready to adjust it according to your needs!

Thanks ewilhelm for the photos!

Step 1: Make Sure You Can Compile Flash!

If you have a Flash developer IDE (I.E. Flash MX), NOT JUST A FLASH PLAYER, then you are all set. If not, look around. If you are a student, the school may have it, someone around work may have it.

If not, I'm sure a group of flash-makers will form in the comments and will be happy to do it for you.

NOTE: My photos were taken on Flash Pro 8, so it may look slightly different than what you are using, but the basic principles are the same.

Step 2: Add Some Code!

I grabbed the reader that was on the Chumby Wiki, and there was a problem with it. It read the images from the "media:content" tag, instead of finding the image in the description.

To get around that, I added some code.

Under Actions:Frame 1, wayyy at the bottom, there will be a function "load movie"
Replace that, and everything below it with this:
function GetImage(des){		var del:Array ;	del = des.split(&apos;<img src="&apos;);	des = del[1];	var img:Array;	//If the image tag usually comes width and hieght tages, change	// &apos;"/>&apos;  to    &apos;width="&apos;   or &apos;hieght="&apos; if the hieght comes first.	img = des.split(&apos;"/>&apos;);	var image:String; 	image = img[0];	return(image);}function GetDes(ddd){	//Same varibles, I guess I&apos;m lazy :-) BUT IT WORKS!		thing = ddd.toString();	var del1:Array; 	del1 = thing.split(&apos;.jpg"/>&apos;);	var des2:String; 	des2 = del1[1];	var img1:Array;	img1 = des2.split("<br/>");	var image1:String; 	image1 = img1[0];	return(image1);}proxy1._visible = false;function loadItem(item) {	g_currentItem = item;	//	// fill in the text fields from the RSS item	//	title.text = item.firstValueOfType(&apos;title&apos;);	var descripti:String;	//descripti is the unprocessed description.	descripti = item.firstValueOfType(&apos;description&apos;);	description.text = GetDes(descripti);	author.text = "by "+item.firstValueOfType(&apos;author&apos;);	dateStr.text = "updated "+item.firstValueOfType(&apos;pubDate&apos;);	var descrip:String;	descrip = item.firstValueOfType(&apos;description&apos;);	var url:String;	url = GetImage(descrip);			proxy.unloadMovie();	attachMovie(&apos;proxy&apos;,&apos;proxy&apos;,1,{_x:proxy1._x,_y:proxy1._y,url:makeURL(url)})

Step 3: Some More Code

Now we need to add the following code to resize your image.

onClipEvent(data){   if (this._width!=80)	this._width = 80;   if (this._height!=60)         this_height = 60;}

This needs to go under the actions for the instance "proxy1", not the frame 1 actions for the symbol "proxy"

(In my image, there are some differences, noted w/ photonotes)

changed code to be more efficient!

Step 4: Let's Get Started!

First, we need to pick our RSS feed. Find the link to it, and the copy-and-paste the link into the following line.

Next, take the base url (i.e: from and add "crossdomain.xml" to the end of it. (So it would be

Type that in the Address Bar of your browser. If you get a page that says something like :
<cross-domain-policy><allow-access-from domain="*"/></cross-domain-policy>

You are good. If you get an error message, complain to the webmaster of the site, and say that they should add it so that flash files can access their content. Give the example of an flash RSS reader. If you want to read up on it, go here (Who'd know there would be a whole site on the matter???)

Step 5: Check the Feed

Open up the RSS feed in your browser, and save it to a disk. Now open it up with Notepad or an equivalent.

Check it out, the main thing we are concerned about is the images.
If inside the description tag looks something like this:
<description><![CDATA[<img src=""/> DESCRIPTION]]></description>

You're set. Mainly, just look for the <img> tag at the beginning, because the current code cuts off everything after it.

If not, please point out a site that puts it in the middle or end, and I will gladly make an upgrade.

Step 6: Publish and Upload!

Now, you can play around with the images if you want, but DO NOT delete the gray box! However, its best to change it to a 80x60 square outline.
I added the Instructables logo, its a nice touch!
Then you can move the textboxes around, resizing them to take advantage of the space.

When you are done, hit control+Enter (on Windows) to preview your movie, make sure it works. If it says that there was some security error just ignore it.

Now on the Chumby site, you can upload the widget, and then add it to your widget mix. If you want, you can verify it will work on the Virtual Chumby.

And shortly, it will be on your Chumby! Congratulations!



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    20 Discussions

    hey would flash develop work for this, it is a free flash software. o and also could you make an instructable going over the basics of how to code in flash to make stuff?

    2 replies

    Flash develop will work, but you won't be able to easily draw shapes, as you have to do the entire thing in Actionscript. Actionscript, the code in Flash, is too big of a topic to be discussed here. However, I'm sure you can find some examples/tutorials on the web ;-)

    where can i get a chumby? and how much i know they arnt on sale yet is there another way?

    1 reply

    I added some code to the resizing part to minimize CPU usage :-)

    this seems like another one of those pointless peaces of crap you see for a month after launch then never see again (the instructable is good thought)

    2 replies

    Ah yeah, there here-again, gone-again "Internet Appliance." Eventually someone will do it right and they'll be as common as clock radios. Wireless is a step in the right direction, probably.

    I assume you mean the Chumby... Actually, the idea sounds cool. I'd like to view stuff like feeds while not on a computer. I don't know if it will catch on, though...

    Another cool note about this Instructable is that it's the first collaboration I've worked on that went approximately like I envisioned the system working. Zachninme and I have never met in person; we've only communicated through messages on Instructables. He offered to help me out with the Chumby, wrote the code, and started a collaboration with me; I loaded the code on the chumby, took pictures, and added the pictures to the Instructable's image library (which allows us to share pictures across our respective image libraries). Now, here it is. Pretty cool, huh?

    I got one as a beta (maybe alpha?) tester. I played with it for a while, but found I was never going to have a chance to do anything really fun with it, so on my orangeboard I offered it to whomever would write an Instructables widget and document the process.

    I didn't... ewilhelm got the pictures for me. Mann I wish I had one, though!

    I signed up for one. Do you have an obligation to do something useful with it?

    No way! Mine shows the latest stories from Google news among other things and acts as a major distraction during meetings. You also set it to show your Flickr stream.


    11 years ago

    Please don't tease us that have been waiting for the Chumby for months. They won't be available commercially until spring. This is just a tease and it's mean. ;)

    1 reply

    Hey, I don't have one either! This pains me too!