Feed Page Update

I've made a couple of changes to my RSS Feeds page.  First I've added a link at the top to take you back to the feed selection list which is very helpful when you are viewing a very long feed.  You no longer need to scroll to the bottom to get back to the feed list!

Secondly and more importantly, I've reworked the page feed to display the description text for each entry instead of just a link to the remote item.  Besides helping provide  some context for the item, it allows you to view sites like Boing Boing in a work safe manner without the work offensive advertising.

I've added the entry publication date next to the entry title assuming there is one.  It seems most feeds don't bother to include this information for some reason.  I've also made some changes to the underlying RSS retrieval mechanism that required some coding changes to a third party package.  I've submitted these changes to the owner in hopes that he will incorporate them into the package.  I will be documenting the reasons for the changes and the technical details in another post once I know whether he is accepting them or whether I'm branching the code.

More changes to the feed page, this time mostly internal code restructuring.  One obviously viewable change is the addition of numerous feeds.  Another change is that when you now hover over the "site link", there is now a title on the link.  Truly is the little things!

I've written a utility to automatically fetch all of the outdated feeds (currently) at two minute after the hour from 7am to 5pm except on weekends.  This automatic feed refresh during weekdays should make the feed content pages now appear very quickly.  I've selected this schedule as being the primary (and likely the only!) user of this page, it makes my life better.  And that's the primary purpose of most everything that goes on around here!  Previously each feed was fetched on demand and then cached for an hour.  Now the utility will fetch and cache them automatically.  If for some reason that fails and/or the page is outdated (e.g. on weekends), the page will be fetched and cached in real-time (as it was previously).

I believe this will be the last update on the RSS feeds…for a while.  Okay, there may be some additions/subtractions to the feeds, but it's now working the way I've wanted it too since I started playing with it.  Any further RSS feed work will likely be some sort of integration to allow external feeds in PolarBlog, but that's off beyond the horizon.

A minor tweak…the automated feed schedule is now 7am to 8pm M-F and 5am-10am on the weekends.  This pretty much covers my usage periods.  One wonders why I just don't go to 24x7 and get it over with! ;)
October 31, 2004 @ 07:12 am | Category:
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