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Monday, April 02, 2007

Fixing Blogger feeds

Patches:  Computer Technician by VincenzoF from flickr (CC-NC)
Blogger software is not particularly good. I can live with whitespace in code examples being slaughtered, just like I could live without tags before Blogger got Beta, but not providing usable feeds makes me want to close my Blogger account and switch to WordPress.

Blogger feeds are broken. The only sensible way of sorting posts in a feed is publication date. Blogger sorts them by updating date. This means:

  • Fixing some typos breaks the feed.
  • Fixing URLs breaks the feed.
  • Even adding labels to posts breaks the feed.
There's simply no reasonable scenario where Blogger behaviour is correct. Fortunately it's possible to work around this bug. If it wasn't, you'd be reading this post from WordPress.

The hack is not by be, but by some other bloggers. Basically it uses Yahoo Pipes to process Blogger feed and sort it correctly.

If you subscribe to this blog, please update your feed to point to http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.run?_id=bvvI9j_h2xGMh7iydbq02Q&_render=rss
or http://tinyurl.com/2adbxg for short.

Feed link in the sidebar is already fixed. <link rel="alternative" ...> links are generated by Blogger JavaScript instead of being included in the template, so there's no easy way of fixing them. Maybe I should switch to WordPress after all ...

Regression toward the mean


It's been a few days since my last rant, so here a new one. There were times when Google was totally awesome compared to pretty much everything else. Next to Google, Yahoo was simply uncool. Nowadays it's less and less so. Sure, Google still does great things every now and then, like GMail, but the competition does awesome things too - Yahoo Pipes and YUI being prime examples. Heck, even Microsoft can build an awesome product these days.

Things created by Google are nowadays not only "not revolutionary", but sometimes simply worse than average. Blogger Beta and Google Video are good examples here. I'm not flaming Google in particular here, it's just that regression toward the mean doesn't stop working just because it's Web 2.0.

5 comments:

Divide said...

Feed link in the sidebar is already fixed. <link rel="alternative" ...> links are generated by Blogger JavaScript instead of being included in the template, so there's no easy way of fixing them. Maybe I should switch to WordPress after all ...

Hackish as it may be, it works fine to just copy the resulting meta code from blogger, amend it, and put it back in the template where the script part was.

taw said...

Divide: It's nowhere in the template, Blogger probably patches templates by some regular expressions (or whatever) when it serves them.

I could append JavaScript which patches the document, but at that point, I could as well move to WordPress.

Divide said...

Whatever, works for me. ;p

IM me for more info tomorrow, if you want.

Aditya said...

I’d like to quickly mention that this has now been fixed. You can add a orderby=published query string at the end of the feed to fix it :)

Cheers!

taw said...

Aditya: Is it possible to fix <link rel="alternate" type="application/atom+xml" ...> too ? It's not in the editable part of the template, and I don't see anything in the settings.