Software Garden ListGarden Program:
Example Of A Simple Online List
This page presents an example of using ListGarden to maintain and distribute a simple list.

ListGarden Sprout With Roots logo

One use of the ListGarden program is to maintain a simple list of items online. People interested in the list can subscribe to an RSS feed to find out about changes. At any point they can see the entire current contents of the list on a web page. This can be done using the "Optional HTML File" facility of ListGarden.

We will look at an example of such a list: Items to bring to an overnight camp, published by the camp.

What is unusual here is:

  • There is no website, just a simple HTML page and the RSS feed XML file.

  • All the items are listed alphabetically on the HTML page but only the three most recently changed items are listed in the RSS feed XML file.

  • The HTML page is formatted as a table with a grid instead of the default format.


Here is a section of the online HTML file that contains the entire list:

Contents of RSS feed for:

A list of items to bring to summer camp for the 2004 season
1 Backpack A day pack for hiking and overnights. The tiny ones are not acceptable. This should be big enough to hold a raincoat and a change of clothes.
2 Bathing suit Two.
3 Duffle bag To hold everything you bring up. No more than 36". No roller wheels!
4 Flashlight For use at night to find the bathroom, read, etc.

The RSS feed XML file only has the most recent three items, listed in reverse chronological order:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<rss version="2.0">
  <title>What to bring to summer camp</title>
   A list of items to bring to summer camp for the 2004 season
  <lastBuildDate>Tue, 29 Jun 2004 01:30:07 GMT</lastBuildDate>
  <generator>ListGarden Program 1.0</generator>
   <title>Duffle bag</title>
    To hold everything you bring up. No more than 36".
    No roller wheels!
   <pubDate>Mon, 28 Jun 2004 17:56:53 GMT</pubDate>
   <title>>No: Personal electronics</title>
    Electronic games, CD and MP3 players, cell phones, etc., are
    not allowed. This is a rustic camp.
   <pubDate>Mon, 28 Jun 2004 17:08:21 GMT</pubDate>
   <title>No: Hairdryers</title>
    Electric hairdryers are not allowed. There are no appropriate
    electrical outlets in the bunks.
   <pubDate>Mon, 28 Jun 2004 17:07:23 GMT</pubDate>

  • First, a normal RSS feed was created using ListGarden with a feed name of "camp".

  • The Channel Title was set to "What to bring to summer camp".

  • The feed "Link" was set to the URL of where the HTML file was going to be, ".../camp/rss.html".

    In this case, the files were placed on a full professional corporate website, but they just as easily could have been on "Personal Webserver Space" provided by an ISP like Earthlink, Comcast, or Verizon. For many simple uses there is no need for a separate dedicated domain name.

  • The feed "Description" was set to "A list of items to bring to summer camp for the 2004 season".

  • Items were created normally. "Title: Towels, Description: 2 large towels and 2 small towels", "Title: Rain jacket, Description: One for use in the summer is recommended. A poncho is acceptable.", etc.

  • Items were manually sorted alphabetically using the "Reorder..." facility of the Items list.

  • The Publish FTP information was set for output.

  • The Maximum Items was set to 3.

  • The Item Sequence was set to "Reverse chronological".

  • The Optional HTML File information was filled out, first checking the box.

  • The three HTML Template "Set to default" checkboxes were checked, the Save button clicked, and then the HTML Templates were edited again with the defaults now filled in.

  • The following line was added to the end of the text in the HTML Template Above:

    <table bgcolor="gray" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="1">

  • The HTML Template For Each Item was replaced with:

    <tr bgcolor="white">
      <td valign="top" align="right" style="font-size:smaller;font-style:italic;">
      <td valign="top" style="font-size:smaller;font-weight:bold;">
      <td valign="top" style="font-size:smaller;">

    Note the use of the "{{itemnum}}" variable to number the rows.

  • The following line was added to the top of the text in the HTML Template Below:


  • The HTML List All Items box was checked.

  • The Publish information was saved.

  • The RSS feed was published normally.

  • New items were added and the RSS feed was published normally again.

Note: Lists produced this way may not need to be hosted as part of a normal website (though that is a fine thing to do). If they are unrelated to any other material you are maintaining on the web, they can stand alone. All they need is basic web serving, which is often available for little or no charge. See "Storing RSS on inexpensive web server space".

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All Rights Reserved.

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Dan Bricklin's is a registered trademark of Daniel S. Bricklin.
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