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Feed Autodiscovery

Monday, August 15, 2005

One of the challenges of a service like FeedBlitz is that users may enter the URL of the web page for the blog, such as http://feedblitz.blogspot.com instead of the URL for its feed - which is what works best for FeedBlitz. As it happens, the feed for the FeedBlitz blog is run by those excellent people at FeedBurner, and its URL is http://feeds.feedburner.com/FeedBlitz

So, what to do if the user enters the "wrong" URL? Enter autodiscovery. There are tags in most web pages that enable clients like FeedBlitz to figure out the feed URLs available. When you enter a URL to publish or subscribe to, FeedBlitz will fetch it and use the autodiscovery feature to determine all the available RSS or Atom feeds. It then offers you a choice: pick one of the discovered feeds, or go ahead and monitor the URL you entered in the first place. Your call.

Either way, it's clearer what it is you're doing, and should help to avoid inadvertently simply monitoring a web page (which isn't very exciting) instead of subscribing to a feed's posts (what you were probably trying to do).



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