RSS Problems

Note: This is an old post in a blog with a lot of posts. The world has changed, technologies have changed, and I've changed. It's likely this is out of date and not representative. Let me know if you think this is something that needs updating.

I was checking my apache logs and noticed there are dozens of feed readers pulling my RSS data. They're not pulling index.xml--which is the RSS 2.0 nicely-rendered data, but rather the RSS 0.9.1 flavour that comes by default with PyBlosxom.

The problems with this are two-fold. First, I don't have num_entries set in So every time someone requests the RSS 0.9.1 feed, they get all of my entries. It's around 340K or so. I'm amazed no one ever complained about this. If they had, I would have told them to get the other feed--the one I advertise--instead.

The second problem is that I didn't have the conditionalhttp plugin running. So every time someone requested the RSS 0.9.1 feed, they get all my entries--even if I haven't added any new ones since the last time they requested it.

I couldn't adjust the num_entries property in my file, though, because it would mess up my paging plugin. So I tossed things around a bit and decided to add this code to my file:

import os
query_string = os.environ.get("QUERY_STRING", "")
if query_string.find("flav=rss") != -1:
    py['num_entries'] = 20

This code checks to see if someone is grabbing the RSS flavour of my blog which is my unadvertised-I-wish-no-one-would-request-it RSS 0.9.1 feed and set the num_entries property to 20. Otherwise, it doesn't get set.

Then I tossed in the conditionalhttp plugin which does the whole last-modified thing further reducing the amount of bandwidth I'm burning away pointlessly.

Want to comment? Send an email to willkg at bluesock dot org. Include the url for the blog entry in your comment so I have some context as to what you're talking about.