Monday, April 24, 2006

ATOM Feeds and Blogger - A Bug, or Not

Allow me to digress into something of a geek post for a moment. As you may have noticed if you visit this blog via visiting the page rather than reading it through a reader, since January I have been running this link blog in my side bar. I figured that it would be a great way for me to be able to post links to things on the net that I found interesting without having to write a whole bunch, or claim it as a post here on my main blog. No, the idea was not uniquely mine, but I where I had seen it I liked it, so I thought to give it a try. For the most part I have enjoyed it, and it has allowed me to feel like I have been doing something to keep presence here on my main page, even if I haven’t been dedicated to writing full-length blog posts here.

So, the way that I get those ‘elsewhere’ entries to cross over and post here on my main page is by using some JavaScript trickery. Well not really trickery, just use of the ever now ever-popular XMLHTTPRequest, which allows me to harvest from the ATOM feed of the other blog, and post the ‘syndicated’ contents however and wherever I choose. Great you say, didn’t you already post about this in January? Yes, I did. But in recent weeks something funky has been going on with the ATOM feed, and I find it quite perplexing as I can’t get an answer from anyone about it.

I realize that the ATOM has gone through some revisions, and many feed providers have been slowly upgrading from ATOM 0.3 to 1.0. Of particular interest to me is the idea that post contents are now appearing in a <summary> node rather than a lt;div> node. (Note that if I am miss-informed here, please correct me, as this is where I am so confused.) When my ‘elsewhere harvesting’ script first broke, I noticed that I was searching for a <div> tag, and that it needed to be changed to a <summary> tag. That was all fine and dandy, until a couple of weeks ago when I noticed that Blogger was creating feeds were the first <entry> node had a <summary> node, but all of the rest of the <entry> nodes had <div> nodes for the summaries instead of the <summary> nodes. What gives? What make the whole thing even stranger is that it is not consistent.

Today, I posted to my elsewhere blog about a review that someone had done on the new Intel based apple computers. When I came back to my main blog to see how the feed had published, I noticed again one of those funky feeds with both the first entry having a <summary> node, and all of the rest having <div> nodes. Then five minutes later, I check again, and the feed has changed now so that all of the contents are in <summary> nodes, as I would expect them to be.

Last week I posted in the Blogger Help, Something Is Broken group about this, and didn’t get any responses. Maybe I am just hallucinating this whole thing, but I can’t seem to find any information about this discrepancy anywhere in the blogger help files, or in the blogger group. At least the problem eventually “fixes itself”, but I would really like to know what is causing it to be this way, and if it is by design, or if it is actually a bug.

Any ideas?


Unknown said...

You know Joe, you could always use wordpress and add in the plugin... then all your bookmarks can be thrown in the colum. I don't know about summaries, but it's a lot less work. (yeah, I get that part of the thing is doing it yourself... I'm just sayin')

Joe said...

"I'm just sayin'"
Perhaps I have enjoyed learning how to harvest from my secondary blog using that ATOM feed and an XMLHTTPRequest. Though, if I get some time, I may play with google reader this summer. At this point in time, I would have a pretty hard time leaving blogger. It suits my needs quite nicley. =)