Modified RSS feed.

10 04 2005

I’ve been annoyed with a problem with RSS feeds lately, particularly when it comes to Livejournal

The problem is that if I post an article to my blog, it gets posted, and then is made available in an RSS feed. The biggest user of this feed is Livejournal, but I have a fair number of folks who read the feed via Bloglines and Sage and the like.

So anyway, folks read the article, but to actually see if anyone has commented on it, they have to click through to the article, and navigate the comments. This is tedious and unwieldy.

There are some hacks that put comments posted on articles into feeds, but then you have to subscribe to the comments feed to see them. Ick.

So over the last few days I whipped up a tool I’m tentatively calling “mtcc” for Movable Type Comment Counter (since it’s quite specific to Movable Type) which can generate a graphic image on the fly representing the number of comments on a specific blog post.

Since RSS feeds are not generated dynamically, but -will- render images as soon as the feed is read by the user, the image is pulled from the MT host of the blog with the correct counter embedded in the image. If someone adds a comment, and someone else reading the article via a feed refreshes, they’ll see an updated count in the image.

This feed is still in testing, and I’d appreciate hearing comments (and tests!) from people. It’s active now, but not available to Livejournal (due to the braindead way LJ handles feeds). I’ll publish it as my LJ feed once I get the final version up.

If you’d like to preview it, and you’re using an RSS reader already, the feed is located at http://planet-geek.com/lj2.xml

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2 responses

11 04 2005
Kai

I’m confused, Dave. The RSS feed of yours (“Planet Geek! posts and comments” at http://dbs.homeport.org/index.rdf) that I have been subscribing to displays comments and refreshes (i.e. is marked as new by bloglines) whenever there is a new comment. What is the problem? Or is it that LJ doesn’t display the comments part of the feed?
Also: your comment form invites the commenter to sign in via TypeKey but when I try that I get the message that “The site you’re trying to comment on has not signed up for this feature. Please inform the site owner.” Which is what I am hereby doing.

11 04 2005
dbs

Kai asks…
…that I have been subscribing to displays comments and refreshes (i.e. is marked as new by bloglines) whenever there is a new comment.

I actually wasn’t aware that the index.rdf I’m using includes the comments. Regardless, I think this is a poor substitute to having an actual live “how many comments are active”. There’s no way to distinguish if the posting article had changed (which sometimes happens), or if I had purged a spammed comment post or whatever.
In particular with Livejournal – they use a ‘most recent updated first’ approach, so when a LJ user views their ‘friends’ list (which may include RSS feeds), the article jumps to the ‘This is a new posting’ position in the view – which isn’t the case. It’s just that a new comment was added

Also: your comment form invites the commenter to sign in via TypeKey but when I try that I get the message that “The site you’re trying to comment on has not signed up for this feature. Please inform the site owner.” Which is what I am hereby doing.

Yeah, we’re not sure what’s up with the Typekey login. We’re hoping to try and fix it shortly, but it’s sort of slipped on the radar. I’ll raise it up again. The preview on comments postings is also broken. *sigh!* So much geeking, so little time!




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