New Year Resolution#1: Fix the blog feed

More than a year ago, I got extremely upset by the SEO spammers that copied content from my blog feed and decided to reduce the feed into article summaries. However, I didn’t want to have half-finished sentences in my feed the way Blogger or Wordpress implement their short feed format. As I have already implemented something similar to the Wordpress’ more tag in Blogger, that would be a natural cutoff point. For shorter posts, I would like to retain whole paragraphs … or, as I’ve summarized the dilemma: I would like to give you enough information to decide whether you want to read the article or not.

Finally I found time to implement a reasonably good feed filter that:

  • Does not touch the purely introductory posts (for example, those that point you to a Wiki article). If I followed a link from my feed reader to a post whose single purpose is to send me to another article, I know I would be mightily annoyed.
  • Cuts off the posts that have the more tag at that point, giving me total control over what I want to have in the summary of a lengthy post.
  • Reduces the post to approximately 350 characters (HTML markup not included in the count) while retaining its structure (a top-level paragraph, quote or DIV is never truncated).

If you experience any problems with the new feed or would like to use my solution (warning to OpenSource zealots: it’s written in VBScript), please do let me know.

1 comment:

  1. Good thinking! I hate when feeds give me only a line or two, and I click through just to find out I'm not interested at all.

    ReplyDelete

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Ivan Pepelnjak, CCIE#1354, is the chief technology advisor for NIL Data Communications. He has been designing and implementing large-scale data communications networks as well as teaching and writing books about advanced technologies since 1990. See his full profile, contact him or follow @ioshints on Twitter.