Archive for the 'atom' Category

FeedBlendr and “Near-Time”

Sunday, September 2nd, 2007

Slowly but surely, FeedBlendr is moving into one of the realms that it was originally intended to serve: being a true feed platform. Part of the goal of providing APIs and alternate ways of accessing blends is to help people use Blendr and the blended feeds that it provides in different contexts than just a normal feed reader. That’s exactly what Near-Time is doing – using FeedBlendr to provide feed services for their online publishing platform. In the words of Joel Bush, their Sales Director:

Near-Time is a hosted Web 2.0 collaboration and publishing platform that includes wikis, weblogs, RSS/Atom output, and a number of other tools. The platform is built around the concept of “spaces” – users can build an unlimited number of spaces and include an unlimited number of members. The sidebar of each space has a number of optional components – one of them is the ability to pull in an RSS feed from another Near-Time space, or anywhere on the web for that matter.

You can see the beginnings of this integration by checking out this growing Publishers 2.0 space, where Joel is combining the power of FeedBlendr to combine 6 different feeds together, then using Near-Time’s RSS module to pull in the contents of that feed and display them on the page.

New FeedBlendr Backend Code

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

I am in the process of moving over to a new set of internal code for FeedBlendr to help with future enhancements, so you might see some funkiness over the next few days (although hopefully not!). The new version introduces a few enhancements, including some slight changes to existing features:

  • Internal APIs use Atom-based formats where possible now (OPML stuff is still there where it makes sense tho).
  • Added a custom namespace (fv, for FeedVille) to the OPML output, and also some other outputs to provide additional information to users/developers.
  • Added some new output format options (look for them on blend information pages soon).
  • Added some customization options for output formats for restricting the number of entries displayed and limiting output to headlines only.
  • LOTS of internal changes, but those shouldn’t affect you 🙂

Hopefully all servers will be switched over to the new code-base by the end of today, and some new documentation etc will be available to detail these changes.

UPDATE 2007-08-21: This code has been fully deployed on all servers as of 2007-08-17 and appears to be working successfully 🙂

FeedBlendr Updates Live

Monday, May 21st, 2007

So those updates that I mentioned I was working on… they’re live now!

As mentioned in that post, this was mostly a bunch of core upgrades that you really won’t see any major differences from, but it makes life a lot easier for me going forward. It’s looking like it might also help with some of the caching problems we’ve been having (since I had to completely overhaul the caching system to factor in my new globalized caching code).

I’ll be keeping an eye on things to make sure the new code settles in nicely, but please let me know here or via email if you notice anything strange.

And that post about Amazon EC2 and S3 is coming soon, honestly 🙂 I’ll try to get it written up tomorrow, but I want to give it the attention it deserves.

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!

FeedBlendr 2.0 Publically Available

Sunday, March 4th, 2007

After many months of development (the complete engine was re-written from the ground up!), I’m very happy to announce that FeedBlendr 2.0 is now officially launched and available for use. I’ve mentioned in previous posts all the new features in this version, so I won’t repeat myself, but needless to say it’s a major upgrade.

I’ll be fine-tuning and tweaking over the coming weeks, but hopefully this will be a stable revision to the system and will open up some new options for people who couldn’t use FeedBlendr for something in particular in the past.

One glaring omission in this new version is user accounts, which a lot of you asked for. Rest assured that this feature is coming, but it’s part of a bigger picture, so has been left out intentionally for now to allow me to integrate future features into it better.

Please check it out and let me know how the new version goes!

PS: If you’re into that sort of thing, be sure to check out the new Developers page with information on more powerful ways of interacting with FeedBlendr

Beta 2 Online and Testing

Monday, February 12th, 2007

A new beta version of FeedBlendr is now online at so please check it out. This version adds/updates:

  • Improved date-sorting
  • OPML output (and improved OPML handling on import/blend creation)
  • In-linking (allows you to pre-fill the Blendr homepage with details via a link)
  • The integrated feed-reader now supports embedded media players for videos and audio!
  • JSON output
  • Improved handling of source feed errors
  • Some good info on the Developers Page
  • Lots of smaller bug fixes

Please try it out and again – let me know how it goes!

Update Your Feed URLs

Saturday, February 10th, 2007

I’ve (finally) moved the FeedBlendr Blog feed to being served from the wonderful Feedburner, so please update your feed URLs to point to Thanks!

Improving Feed Formats Support

Friday, June 30th, 2006

From the suggestions of a few users, and my own desire to improve the functionality of FeedBlendr, I’m hoping to increase the number of feed formats/variants/dialects supported in the near future. At the moment, the way that FeedBlendr works means that it only supports (or rather only outputs) pretty bare-bones feeds. This means it almost always works, but it also precludes it from doing really cool things like creating belnded podcasts or vlog feeds amongst other things.

I’m going to be working from Niall Kennedy’s list of feed specs, and hope to ensure support for these formats (and possibly more if I can figure out a reliable way to open up the elements I pass through):

If there are any other specific formats that you’d like to see FeedBlendr support, please use the comments to let me know!

New FeedBlendr Features

Saturday, February 18th, 2006

Well, being an overcast, kinda dull Saturday here in San Francisco, and being a little whacked out on cough medicine as I am, I decided it was a perfect time to roll out a few features that either people had asked for, or just that I had wanted to include. Here’s what’s just gone live:

  • Author elements of the output feeds contain the original author information from the source feed, and I make an extra effort to find an author’s name regardless of where it was stored in that feed.
  • The source feed details are now appended to the actual content of the post. This is intended to make it more prominent, and to make sure that it doesn’t overwrite author information in the case where there are multiple unique authors per blog.
  • I’m now storing the title of feeds, so that I can start building a public index of feeds involved in FeedBlendr’s engine (coming soon). I’m also using this in the source attribution process.
  • I’m removing (or at least attempting to remove) duplicate entries from blends now. As an example, if you blend 2 similar tags on Flickr, you should now only ever see each image once, even if it would normally appear under each different tag.
  • Updated the subscribe page to include information about the individual feeds included in a blend.

I have a few more features coming before I start serious work on the next one of my feed manipulation tools, but it shouldn’t be too far off now. Coming up soon are:

  • HTML (probably through JavaScript) output of a blended feed.
  • Public index of blends/feeds in the FeedBlendr index so you can find interesting feeds to check out.