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RSS and Blogspot

Some of you will notice an odd prejudice in the blogroll on the homepage here at Three Years of Hell. If you look very closely, you may realize that I include very few authors who use Blogger or Blogspot.

Before anyone starts gathering for a large class-action lawsuit, let me explain. Unlike a lot of sites, I like to syndicate headlines. In other words, I link not to the individual blog, but to their top-three headlines at any given time. This gives me an idea of which of my favorite blogs have been recently updated, and which are growing a bit moldy. The trouble is that I do this through a technology called RSS (Really Simply Syndication). Unfortunately, the 900 lb. gorilla that is Blogger backs a different standard: ATOM. Up until now, it's been very difficult for me to integrate these feeds into my website, and I'm not about to rewrite the relevant MoveableType Plug-in. (Hell, doubt I could. --Ed.) "How can I get an RSS feed?" has been one of the most common questions I've been asked by Blogger...erm...bloggers.

Today, I'm happy to say that betwixt Ann Althouse and myself, we managed to come up with a fix. Or rather, we've tested the FeedBurner service, and it seems to be working. You'll note that Prof. Althouse is now on my RSS list.

I'm leaving detailed instructions for how to use this system to generate RSS (instead of using the SmartFeed service, which won't work with some readers) below. But if you happen to be one of the people I read most often yet haven't added to the mix, this would make it much easier for me to link to you.

(Oh, and if you're a new Columbia 1L looking to be put on either The Columbia Continuum or my blogroll, please do email me. I really need to get this place updated.)

NOTE: There's a lot of services out there that do various XML conversions, or will scrape your site to make RSS. I'm not necessarily recommending FeedBurner, because I don't know much about them. I don't know who owns them, I'm unfamiliar with their privacy policy, and for all I know they're owned by the Devil Incarnate. (Hell has the best techs and the worst tech support.) Basically, 'use at your own risk.' This is how we managed to get Althouse up and running.

Right: how to do this.

a) Go to http://www.feedburner.com. Enter the name of your ATOM feed at Blogspot. Almost all the time, this will be your URL with "atom.xml" after the URL. For instance, Chris Geidner's site (http://lawdork.blogspot.com) has an ATOM feed at http://lawdork.blogspot.com/atom.xml.

b) On the next page, if SmartFeed is enabled, click the box next to it to disable it. (Or use it, but I don't think it works with my site. I'm being greedy here.)

c) Scroll down to "Additional Services" and find "Convert Format Burner." Select this service.

d) In the dropdown at the bottom of this section, select "RSS 2.0" as your format.

e) Click on Next. On the next page, create an account. (PLEASE see warning above: I'm neither endorsing the service nor do I know anything about what you sign away when you give them an account. See the FAQ here.)

f) That's pretty much it for creating the feed. Now you have to figure out what the feed URL is. If you log onto your new control screen and look at your feed, you'll see a link that says "Publicize." If you click this and follow a few steps, you should have a snippet of code you can paste into your website. This will tell those of us who want to add you to our blogroll the URL we need.

g) Last but not least, write a short entry on your blog announcing the new feed, so that those of us who read you know to update our own sites.

Hope that helps!

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Comments

Thank you soooo much! I've been needing to do this forever -- and your instructions seemed to have magically worked!
I'm one of the co-founders and owners here at FeedBurner. The Devil hasn't made it to a board meeting in months, so I hope that at least partially allays your concerns. That said, we're wondering how SmartFeed is falling short for your purposes. Are Atom sites that you've applied SmartFeed to not coming through as RSS when your Movable Type plug-in attempts to harvest their headlines? That's one feed-requesting "client" we haven't considered yet, but it's certainly one we could add if it identifies itself uniquely when retrieving the feed. As it is, your suggestion to Blogger publishers to use Convert Format is appropriate and obviously accomplishes the task for your purposes (and theirs in being included in your headline roll). But SmartFeed is generally the most flexible way to ensure a feed is usable at its destination, and your usage case is one we'd like to make sure we can handle with minimum usability hassle. Please let us know if we can be of any additional assistance. Also, our privacy policy is available at http://www.feedburner.com/fb/a/privacy.
Matt: Essentially, the ATOM sites to which Smartfeed was applied came through on my MT-RSS client as ATOM sites, and thus broke. The RSS feed worked. I wasn't trying to denegrate your Smartfeed product: it probably works perfectly for people reading RSS feeds through a feedreader. My client didn't seem to work, and so I advised my readers to do things in (selfishly) the way most convenient to me. I couldn't find any development documentation on your site. If there were a way for me to "force" Feedburner's Smartfeed to spit out a certain style of XML (say, by attaching a query string to the URL), then SmartFeed would cause me no trouble at all.
Hello All, Can anyone help us to integrate different RSS news feed to http://linkopedia.blogspot.com & http://www.inkorus.com We don't know the techniques of doing same. Regards, Milind
http://www.livehournal.com/community/kevinsview/data/rss is my (http://www.kevinsview.com) News blog's RSS if you are interested
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