Tag: feeds

Why I’m just a little code monkey

Sometimes you’ve just gotta leave it to the pros

I had this little problem with the WordPress Codex a while back – I wanted to display a link to feeds for my tags on the tag pages. WordPress is pretty good about presenting the data – I used ucwords(single_tag_title("", false)) to properly display the tag names at the top of the page (see here), but the codex didn’t have a function for returning the link part (i.e. /fly-fishing/) without a ‘tag id’ and the additional page numbering was getting in the way too. So I hacked together this work-around:

if (preg_match("/\/page\//",$_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'])) {
$feedtarget = $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'];
$feedreplace = array ('|/page/2|','|/page/3|','|/page/4|','|/page/5|','|/page/6|','|
$feedchange = array ('','','','','','','','','','','','','','');
$feedfixed = preg_replace($feedreplace,$feedchange,$feedtarget);
$feedmatch = $feedfixed.'feed/';
} else {
$feedmatch = $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'].'feed/';

And was stuffing that $feedmatch bit into the link by echoing it after bloginfo(‘url’).

What I can manage to get out the door usually works, even if it is less than elegant. Ok, way less than elegant (and limited on the page number end too). I could use the excuse that I was in a rush, but the fact is I spent at least an hour getting it to work right, and once it did I felt the hero in my own mind.

After re-arranging my categories a bit, I thought about extending the ‘patch’ to those and posting the work for others. It was then I realized that was some craptastic code like you read about. So I ask a friend if he could help me clean up the array portion. He does one better, by reducing my entire bunk to one line:

$feedmatch = preg_replace('/\/page\/[0-9]+/', '', $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'], 1).'feed/';

Proving once and for all that Regular Expressions should be basic coursework for accounting grads (or at least qualified CPE). And I should stick to tumbling numbers and fly fishing.

Read what matters – AideRSS

Interesting service, and the results seem to indicate there is weighting to their madness (meaning highly trafficked blogs don’t necessarily get preferred treatment, and the more content the more the rating guidelines tighten up).

“If you don’t like it, leave” is not a good answer

I’m obviously not fishing this morning, and I’m still blaming a Friday afternoon meeting…

RSS’s daddy, Dave Winer, voiced some concerns with Google’s FeedBurner acquisition. Fred Wilson responded by noting how easy FeedBurner makes it to leave. What Wilson is talking about is FeedBurner’s redirect service – you can delete a feed and FeedBurner will redirect requests back to the original RSS source. In a perfect world, your subscribers continue to get the crappy content you create, and by the time the FeedBurner feed dies they’ve hopefully changed their subscribed URL back to the base feed. We don’t live in a perfect world, and the “if you don’t like it, leave” argument has some holes…

  • If Google were willing to toy with feeds as Winer suggests, what’s to prevent them from making it more difficult to get out? If you can imagine someone tinkering with feeds to favor a certain reader, why can’t you imagine them “accidentally” redirecting your feed into a black hole (except for Google Reader users, of course)?
  • Switching costs are generally inversely proportional to the number competitors offering a product or service. And when it comes to distribution channels, logistics make those costs inherently high. FeedBurner is a distribution channel – a heavily used distribution channel which some content producers rely heavily upon. And I don’t see a bunch of strong competitors to FeedBurner waiting in the wings.
  • I agree – services that make it easy to leave are often an attraction, but that’s not the main reason I use the service; FeedBurner sold me on their great attitude. Google bought the company, and they can do as they please with it.

    I just hope that pigeon-holing folks into a single point of consumption isn’t one of them.

    A side note: There are probably some neat things that could be done with FeedBurner and Google Reader…things that might entice me to OPML-up my subscriptions and move there. In particular, I rarely bother looking at stats, tinkering with FeedFlares, etc., but if I could do this all within Google Reader I might pay more attention. Claim my feeds within and do the manipulation from there – I’d be combining my feed management and feed consumption – one less stop. Allowing me to compile a list of FeedFlares that would be available for all Google Reader users to play with, without me having to embed them in the feeds themselves, would also be nice. And last but not least…I have no intention of putting any ads in my feeds because I believe feed ads are aggravating and discourage both consumption and re-distribution. But I’d consider putting ads (linked to a proprietary Adsense or FeedBurner account) in feeds if they were only available to Google Reader users (since Google users in generally are so used to seeing ads on just about everything Google anyway).

    UPDATE: Day 2 – “The most common rebuttal was the user’s ability to opt out. If you don’t like it you don’t have to use Feedburner. But that’s not any kind of a rebuttal.”

    UPDATE 2: “One of the things I’ve heard over and over from non-technical users who have the same concerns now that Feedburner is owned by Google, is where do we go if we want to switch? Ahh. There is no place to go.” Where have I heard that before?

    RSS for eMarketers – Are there any holes?

    Rok Hrastnik dropped Spamroll a line, and made some interesting points that I frankly have to cave on.

    Rok points out that the users ability to simply shut off any unwanted feeds is exactly the reason why RSS can be so powerful for legitimate marketers. I have to agree – never thought of it in that light.

    Are there any technical or other holes lingering in the wings (like comment spam, etc.) that may foil this process. Looking for reader comments – appreciated for my learning experience as well as others.

    You can read the rest of Rok’s insights at Is RSS the Solution for Emarketers?, although I have deleted his posted email address out of courtesy.

    I also want to note that Rok’s comments seemed unintrusive, which is surprising for someone trying to push a product, so I encourage readers to check out more of what he has to say.

    Ok, I have caved on two issues. My ego just got the best of me, so now I am shutting up. But I will read the book.

    Is RSS the Solution for Emarketers?

    Andy McCue of Silicon.com deserves a special thanks for plugging the latest “me-too” book, this time on RSS feeds and how they are the emarketers’ dream come true, in Have RSS feeds killed the email star? – silicon.com.

    Why thank Andy….? Well no opinion was expressed on the validity of Unleash the Marketing & Publishing Power of RSS, by Rok Hrastnik, that’s why. Finally someone shows a little skepticism by not going overboard with a glorious review of what I suspect is bunk.