October 20th, 2002


Me? Helping fix Blogger's bugs?! Well, sorta.

A few days back, I added boingboing_net to the list of RSS feeds I subscribed to, only to discover that the feed wasn't working, and was apparently choking on a particularly odd bit of text. I contacted the people over at boing-boing to let them know about the broken feed. Several emails later, it was discovered that Blogger's RSS feeds weren't coping well with a few special characters. They have since fixed the problem... frankly, I'm surprised they didn't notice it before.

While it seems kind of ironic for me to be helping Blogger, I'm glad to do it under the circumstances. There are just too many advantages to getting syndication working well for everyone... plus, a working boing-boing feed is a nice thing for LJ users to have access to.

update - Cory from boingboing says that he thinks Blogger hasn't fixed the problem yet after all, and that what happened is that the offending characters scrolled off his RSS feed instead. However, the team at b2 is taking steps to avoid this problem in the future until such point as Blogger fixes the bug.

on building a better RSS feed...

So, as you probably have all witnessed, I have been a bit upset with the quality of LiveJournal's RSS feeds lately. However, markpasc and deus_x have found ways around this problem by creating custom styles. Admittedly, this solution only works for paid users right now, but it's a start...

I've added a link to my LiveJournal page that looks like this:

If you are a paid user who would like an RSS feed that actually syndicates your entire journal, all you need to do to create a better feed for your journal is to go to edit style and copy the following text into an appropriate place on your LASTN_PAGE window :

<a href="http://www.livejournal.com/customview.cgi?username=username&styleid=90448"><img
border="0" src="http://www.livejournal.com/img/xml.gif"></a>

Be sure to replace the text that says username with your username and you're set.

So, what does that do for you?! Well, it lets anyone else out there with an RSS newsreader read what you have to say. There are lots of newsreaders out there, and their use is growing rapidly. Also, as soon as other LiveJournal Server sites such as ujournal.org or deadjournal.com update their software, they will also be able to add syndicated feeds, which will allow them to read you in their friends list, and visa versa.

Basically, having good RSS will allow all these different services and sites to exchange information, which means that rather than you having to visit dozens of websites every day, the information will flow to you. In other words, it's both technical *and* lazy! How convenient...