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Thursday, 10 December 2009

Feed URLs - What is mine?



Every now and then, a blogger asks "What is my Site Feed URL?", or something similar.

Without going into a thesis on aggregators, a Feed is a way of presenting information from your blog, to a NewsReader, such as Google Reader, in a readable fashion. It also tells the Reader to continually search for updates from that source.

Blogger's feature, Follower, provides a feed to all those who 'Follow' that blog. It also creates a feed in Google Reader for you.


When you set up your Feed, (Settings - Site Feed), you are enabling syndication of your blog. It may be in Basic, or Advanced mode - FULL, SHORT, or NONE. This means that all, part of, or no part, of your blog content, will be available.

In Basic mode, if you select it,
FULL, will make available feed types - posts, comments and per-post comments.
SHORT mode gives only a 'snippet' (up to 255 characters) of the article - generally, a paragraph.


There are a few different 'Feed URLs' for your blog. It may be a Feed for your blog Posts, a Label Feed, or blog Comments Feed. All Feeds are default Atom 1.0 format, but can be varied to RSS 2.0 format. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication.


Remember: Feeds don't operate for Private Blogs, or FTP hosted blogs, which Blogger has finished with, anyway!


In Basic mode, select Full to syndicate the full content of your post. Select Short if you only wish to syndicate the first paragraph, or approximately 255 characters, whichever is shorter. This setting will be applied to each type of feed (Post, comment and per-post comment feed), as stated above.



Note: Only in Advanced mode, can you enable feeds of your choice, or limit them.




OK. lets look at what the URL for a Blog Post Feed URL, looks like:

A FULL site feed:
  • Atom 1.0: http://blogname.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
  • RSS 2.0: http://blogname.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss


See how the URL is established? It tells the aggregator that;

  • you want a particular blog,
  • that you want available feeds,
  • that you want feeds from Posts,
  • and you want the feeds in a certain format.


This doesn't guarantee that you'll get what you want, because that's up to the blog owner and what he/she has enabled on their Settings - Site Feeds!


Let's look at a Comments Feed URL:

  • Atom 1.0: http://blogname.blogspot.com/feeds/comments/default
  • RSS 2.0: http://blogname.blogspot.com/feeds/comments/default?alt=rss


There's not much difference between the two feeds URL examples above, is there? One asks for Post feeds, and one asks for Comments feeds. Once again, it depends on what the blog owner has enabled.


What about a Label-specific Feed?

  • Atom 1.0: http://blogname.blogspot.com/posts/comments/default/-/labelname
  • RSS 2.0: http://blogname.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss/-/labelname


or, you may want a specific, Individual Post Comments Feed:

  • Atom 1.0: http://blogname.blogspot.com/feeds/postId/comments/default
  • RSS 2.0: http://blogname.blogspot.com/feeds/postId/>comments/default?alt=rss


You can find the post-Id of an individual post from the Posting | Edit Posts tab. Simply mouse-over the 'Edit' link next to a particular post, and that post-Id will be displayed in your browser's status bar.



An Aggregator/NewsReader, like Google Reader, or Sage, a Firefox add-on, can automatically pick up your Feeds, too. For instance, if I wanted to get the Feeds from blog X, I enter the blog, or Feed URL into the Add a subscription section, and Google Reader will find the available feeds for that blog.

Remember, you have a choice of which one you want - be it Posts, Comments etc. - IF the blog owner has enabled that Feed. You can't get a Comments, or Label feed from a blog which hasn't got Comments, or Label feed enabled!

See also:
Label-specific Site Feed

and:
Roberto's Blogs Newsfeeds

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