Last week I had to implement a customized RSS feed in Django for the first time. Sounded like a fun project to me until I had a look at the documentation which is… well let's just say it's not as good as the core documentation.

So if anybody runs into the same problems as me here is a simple example on how to do a little customizing of the Django syndication stuff:

from django.contrib.syndication.feeds import Feed
from django.utils.feedgenerator import Rss201rev2Feed
from content.models import SomeModel

# this is our very own custom RSS feed generator class
class FooFeed(Rss201rev2Feed):

  # add_root_elements adds xml elements to the root node of the RSS XML.
  # In this case we add a 'foo' element to our feed root with a value of
  # 'bar'.
  def add_root_elements(self, handler):
    super(FooFeed, self).add_root_elements(handler)
    handler.addQuickElement(u'foo', 'bar')

  # add_item_elements adds elements to the actual items in the RSS XML.
  # In this case we add a 'foz' element with an attribute 'baz'. The values
  # for those two keys are coming out of the passed in item dict.
  def add_item_elements(self, handler, item):
    super(FooFeed, self).add_item_elements(handler, item)
    handler.addQuickElement(u'foz', item['foz'], attrs={'baz': item['baz']})

# this is our actual feed class that provides data for the RSS feed
class JobPostingFeed(Feed):
  # this will use our custom RSS feed generator class from above
  feed_type = FooFeed
  title = 'FooFeed stuff'
  link = '/'
  description = 'Freaky FooFeed stuff.'

  # this definies which objects are passed into the feed generator
  def items(self):
    return SomeModel.objects.order_by('-created_at')

  # This took me the most time to figure out even though the idea is pretty
  # simple. We used the item dictionary in add_item_elements above which is
  # filled with the values we define here. Since we are accessing the keys
  # 'foz' and 'baz' above we have to make sure those kyes/values actually
  # exist in the 'item' dict.
  def item_extra_kwargs(self, obj):
    return {
      'foz': obj.some_method(),
      'baz': obj.some_attribute,

Update: Fixed add_item_elements. Thanks for pointing it out John.