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Thursday, March 03, 2005
  The hint for today is...

Burning feeds...

Way-back-whenI used to do this all of the time. I used to write out advise and be beautiful in word and text. Lately I've been a grumpy blogger and no one reads or at least commetns on my blogs any more. I wish to fix this.

Today I'me going to talk about a service many of use use called feed burner which we use to add the Y! subscribe button and other chicklets.

Feedburner works by taking the ATOM feed that comes with your blogger account (and might be available for other accounts) and doing something cleaver with it. Sometimes if you ask jsut right you can do a whole set of somethings.

It's not just limited to ATOM but includes RSS 1 and RSS 2 feeds that are more common with moveable type and paid-up Live Journal Users. RSS 1 and 2 is not version but type so there are really three main feed formats out there.

Don't worry they say any dicent reader will use any format without you telling it - for the most part this is true. For example your ATOM feed is readable via the "SmartFeed" option in yahoo which is RSS only.

However not all readers are equal and the smart feed sometimes comes out not-quite-right in odd little feeders.

The answer seems simple convert format... but there are problems. Fortunatly there are answers too.

The problem lies in the way the convert happens even with the extreamly impressive smart feed. Some RSS readers don't display the discription / summary portian which is where this article is to be read or your revalations about your boyfriend's sister's husband's uncle's dog will be found - in other words the content is missing.

Also your smartened feed works in more systems than ever before why change it for less systems so your pet system can read it?

That'd be silly.

The next answer seems to burn the feed twice so that half you subscribers read one and half read the other.

It works but those lovely stats are all messed up now.

The trick lies in how you burn your feeds. Done right you loose no stats at all.

First take your blogger feed: http://myBlog.blogspot.com/atom.xml and burn your feed setting smart feed and stats as a minimum. What you have is your optimised feed that lots of people can use. Now take you FeedBurner XML URL which they will give you and burn a new feed from it. This feed can have convert to RSS 1 (or 2) but should not have smart feed as this over rights convert. Also select the summary and teaser option which creates an edit 200 word (or whatever number you set) summary clipped fromt he start of you asstounding content.

You can continue to burn as many specialist feeds as you like and add chicklets for all of them (labeled of course) into your sidebar AND you get stats for them all!

Add the stats chicklet for your main feed and your subfeeds if you like and you will see that the main feed has the stats for all.

Job done - lots of special feeds and without lossing your stats.

Who would use it?

Well I know of a few people with PDAs that run PocketPC-2002 and PocketRSS. Since adding the RSS converted flavour (WITH SUMMARIES) these guys can noww read my blog on their hand helds. It's the content summary that does the magic adding content back in from where-ever ATOM hides it.

I've got a PDA myself now and it is truely irritating not being able to read my fav blogs which I've quickly sync'd before going on a trip. (feeds can be grabbed quickly for off line reading).

 
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