Archive for April, 2007

Updates Never-ending!

Sunday, April 22nd, 2007

Another week, another round of updates and tweaks to the core FeedBlendr service. This week brings:

  • Fixed an RDF-parsing problem so that now you’ll get full content of a post if it’s available (was particularly affecting some FeedBurner feeds)
  • Added the ability to force re-check a feed URL if it fails (just click the red dot that appears next to it to force check it)
  • Fixed a few small things that were preventing feeds from rendering properly in FireFox, so both Atom and RSS versions should work now. Haven’t looked at IE7’s internal feed rendering yet, so I don’t know about that
  • Improved the internal caching models to speed things up all over the place
  • Switched over to a system that allows parallel outgoing requests for a pretty significant performance increase (especially on larger blends)
  • LOADS of small bug fixes and improvements throughout the core code

Growth continues, and I haven’t been kicked off DreamHost just yet (fingers crossed). I’m actually looking in Amazon EC2 to see if that will provide a reasonable option, so hopefully I’ll figure that out in the near future. I’ll keep you posted.

Keep on blending!

UPDATE: Looks like there was a bug in some of the caching that was preventing Blendr from picking up any new feed entries, but I believe it’s fixed now. Thanks to Orlin, Steve and benjy for pointing this out!

More Blendr Updates

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

I’ve just finished uploading and testing a new round of updates for FeedBlendr, please let me know if you spot anything funky!

  • Added a “What Are Feeds?” page (link) to the homepage.
  • Improved RSS output (stripped some unnecessary attributes, output <category> tags properly, and a couple others).
  • Changed all the URLs that you use to request blends and subscribe pages etc. I’ve added redirects to handle all the old formats and redirect them to the new formats, but please take note of the new formats as outlined on a blend’s detail page. This change makes all the request URLs much more RESTful.
  • Added the “Source” in the output for mobile reading.
  • Got rid of the separate subscription buttons and added a single, “AddThis” button which links to all sorts of readers, both online and actual clients.
  • Added caching to JavaScript and JSON output, so hopefully they’ll work a little faster. You may see slightly longer delays with updates of content, but actual page-loads should be a bit quicker for you now.
  • Added the option to get headlines-only from JavaScript and JSON outputs. Read about it in the Developers section

You can email me using this address if you notice anything strange, or would like to suggest a new feature.

First Known FeedBlendr API Usage “In The Wild”

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007

A couple of days ago, I got an email with the subject “API User” and I thought wow, someone’s actually using that API that I spent so long writing, and I suppose this will be a problem that they’re having with it.

I was half right, it was indeed from someone using the FeedBlendr API, but I was wrong about the second part – he wasn’t having any problems with it, he just wanted to let me know that he was using it, and it was working! The email was from Toby, one of the developers of, a new service which allows you to create, track and promote a “hub tag”. According to their description, “a HubTag is a unique word on the internet used to tag your photos and videos that you have published on different web 2.0 tools”.

Their implementation appears to involve automated blending from a number of public Web2.0 properties, so that you can get a single feed containing everything that uses a certain, unique tag. Toby Beresford, co-founder said “in practice this means will promote using unique hubtags for specific purposes like events, projects and personal filing.”

Looks like the guys are still working on the site as it’s already started adding in extra features and tools since I first looked at it, so it could be one to keep an eye on in the future. According to Neil Johnston, the other co-founder, their vision for HubTag is “everyone using tags relevantly and seamlessly to maintain better connections online”.

Great stuff – if anyone else is using the API for anything I’d love to hear about it!