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Author Topic: RSS feeds and what you should know about them  (Read 50456 times)
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« on: November 16, 2008, 12:53:05 am »

For the last couple of weeks I've been using Google Reader (http://www.google.com/reader/). I do have to give credit to a co-worker of mine who told me that using RSS is way better than keeping a ton of tabs open and trying to stay on top of things. It's something that I tried to stay away from before. Now on the other hand I feel that I am on top of things. I also have to admit that using RSS reader is quite neat. Another neat benefit is using it to bookmark feeds. Also Google Reader supports OPML (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OPML) format for importing and exporting feeds you are subscribed to. I know that there's a ton of RSS readers out there, but for now I am sticking with Google Reader.

I have also spent some time looking at the RSS 2.0 (http://www.rssboard.org/rss-specification) specs and making sure that my website produces proper feeds and provides a usable and friendly experience.

Right now there's two RSS feeds on my website: News (http://feedproxy.google.com/Gena01comLatestNews) and Blog (http://feedproxy.google.com/Gena01Blog). There's something about "eating your own dog food (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eat_one%27s_own_dog_food)". I had to make some tweaks and corrections to get things to work better.

News Feed:

News feed has been redone from scratch using PHP5 DOM XML Api. It was quite an educational experience. I'll try to post up my learnings in a separate blog entry.

Blog Feed:

The blog feed is based on the existing API from SMF. Actually they are documented, but you do need to make some decisions and corrections in order for it to do the right thing. Here (http://www.simplemachines.org/community/index.php?topic=25009.0) is the link to a whole thread discussing various options that SMF makes available.

Some things to keep in mind:
- SMF is actually quite slow if you produce a feed that covers a large number of topics/items.
- You need to tweak a setting to make sure that the whole content is included in the RSS feed. Otherwise you only get a portion of the text.
- You need to select the right option to make sure that RSS produced is the news feed that you want.
- The way SMF allows you to produce RSS feeds has it's problems and limitations.

Update: Microsoft has posted Windows RSS Publisher's Guide (http://blogs.msdn.com/rssteam/articles/PublishersGuide.aspx).

Last recommendation i want to make is do test the feeds and content that you publish on your website.


« Last Edit: November 17, 2008, 09:25:12 pm by Gena01 » Logged
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