Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Blog feed for more than 500 posts

The folks at Blogger, bless their hearts, erect several obstacles to creative use of your blog's feed.

Some of us use our feeds--our whole feeds, not just the most recent stuff--to make an index of our blogs, or to reverse the order so that it begins with the oldest post.

The default Blogger feeds, however, show only the most recent 25 posts. This is pretty easy to get around: you just append "max-results=999" to the feed url, which overrides the 25-post limit (replacing it with a a larger one). So the feed for this blog, breaking the 25-post barrier, is
http://too-clever-by-half.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?max-results=999
It turns out that Blogger has a second, more-serious limit of 500 posts per feed. Here's how that works, and how to work around it if your blog has more than 500 posts.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Feed "pagination" hobbles Yahoo Pipes

The quirky but useful Pipes web service has added a new kink, with implications for bloggers that use it to reverse the order of their posts.

Running your blog feed though the pipe I built will flip the order, and until recently you could then just port the pipe's feed to feed2js to show your blog in the order you want.

Frustratingly, Yahoo Pipes has started to paginate its feeds in blocks of 100 posts. So the feed url you get from Pipes only displays the first 100 posts in the series. To see the next 100 posts, you have to add the following to the feed url:
&page=2
You then run both feed urls, separately, through feed2js, and mash the results together so they look like a continuous feed.

Feed-based hacks get a new lease on life

Alan Levine, originator and keeper of the useful but endangered feed2js.org web service, announced last week that thanks to

the generosity of people who have donated financial support, and one anonymous donor in particular, I have sufficient funds to keep Feed2JS running at least through June 2013, and maybe longer.

Feed2js turns rss feeds into scripts that will run on blogger.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Web services and the kindness of strangers

Your blog can be a journey rather than a most-recent-first news site.

You can show your blog content in chronological order, instead of reverse-order default, using a method that relies on external web services to flip the posts around.

These services are web sites that let you manipulate data, in this case having to do with your blog's feed. The services are free and rely on the kindness of strangers.

Web services make my blog-journey hack a little daunting (though people have told me it's easier than it sounds). This approach requires bloggers to think of their content in new ways, and to learn how to use these third-party web services a little bit.

Besides that difficulty, however, there is another pitfall.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Suddenly, "please support feed2js" at the end of every script

As I write this there is an unexpected emergency note at the bottom of every feed script that runs though feed2js.org:
Attn web site owners: Please support Feed2JS!
This note, with this link, appears unwanted on every blog and web site that uses this service. Here's what's happening and how to make the message go away.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Have your feed and burn it too

The justly popular Feedburner service comes with a 500-kb limit. Exceed that and Feedburner will not syndicate all your content, dropping the oldest first.

This is consistent with the model of a feed as a broadcast of your posts to subscribers (via feed reader or email). Such readers presumably are only interested in your latest and greatest.

However, complete feeds that comprise all of your content are broadly useful for other purposes, such as my Blog Journey hack to show posts in chronological order, oldest first.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The amazing "Configure Blog Posts" controls

Nested away in your blog settings is a control panel for blog posts.

I don't mean the screen for editing individual posts, of which you surely know already; this lets you change the uniform way all of your posts are rendered in your blog.

At stake are things like whether and where to show the date, labels, even title of posts.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Edit the elements

Blogger's layout page, at Layout, is the powerful graphical-interface control panel for your blog. There you can add gadgets and even rearrange them just by clicking and dragging.

Perhaps you know that you can also configure those gadgets by clicking their respective "edit" links. But look over at the rectangle labeled "Blog Posts." That's right, you can configure them too.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Blog elements

In the beginning was the blog, composed of posts.

But there are many other pages and parts of your blog, some added later by Blogger (such as static pages), others generated automatically (such as label searches).

It's handy to know what you can do with these. Here's a field guide.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Better tabbed navigation with link lists, not the Pages gadget

There's an old Vaudeville routine about a man in an airplane and a series of reversals.
Unfortunately--he fell out.
Fortunately--he was wearing a parachute.
Unfortunately--it wouldn't open
and so forth.

The unhappy conclusion:
Fortunately--he missed the pitchfork.
Unfortunately--he missed the haystack.
Well, fortunately, Blogger provides a nifty Pages gadget that automatically lists all of your static pages. Blogger nudges you to set one up if you publish such a page, and if you put it in the horizontal area over your posts, many templates render it as a handy tabbed navigation system.

Navigation gizmos like this can connect readers to your content, making your blog more useful, fun, and, ultimately, popular.

Unfortunately,

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Your blog, on a diet

This is your blog, on a diet.

Blogger automatically pagenates your blog pages based on size. Exceed 500 kb, and Blogger continues your blog onto an archive page.

This feature (or bug if you prefer) is not going away. You can't disable it, but you can manage it.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Blog-page length

Write a post, and it will show up at the top of your blog page. Keep writing posts, and eventually your posts will spill over into archive pages, with links to older posts at the break.

Two things determine where that break is--and you only control one of them.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Limiting posts per page

Bloggers with administrative privileges can limit the number of posts per page at Settings > Posts and comments > Show at most.

This setting lets you control the size of dynamic pages.

Sort of.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Elements common to every page

Different pages display different content, but the design of your blog is constant throughout.

So it is that your readers, as they click through your blog, get many visual cues that they have not left your blog even as the content changes. Header, sidebar, gadgets, footer, color scheme, and typeface do not change.

This is valuable to you and your readers, and something that Blogger ensures without any work required on your part.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gadgets in the footer

The horizontal region in your blog's footer, after the end of your posts, is sub-prime real estate.

Gadgets you place here do not compete for your readers' attention but will only be seen by those who make it to the bottom of the page.

If your left or right sidebar region is longer than the length of the posts shown, there will be a blank gap between the posts and the footer-area gadgets.

Gadgets anywhere add to load time and subtract from the available page-size quota.

My own rule of thumb is that any gadget so unimportant as to belong down here is not worth including at all.

Some exceptions could apply.

Your call.
« Gadgets over posts Index Appendices »

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gadgets on top

Be especially discriminating about what gadgets you put in the horizontal region below your title and tagline and above your blog posts.

After your title, this is the first thing your readers will see.

Every time they visit.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sidebar and other gadget areas

Most blog templates include a column on the left or right hand side where you, the blog author, can put photos, text, links, and many automated blog gadgets. Some have sidebars on both sides.

Sometimes called widgets, these gadgets can be dragged to horizontal positions at the top of the blog (just under, but not in, the title-and-tagline block), and the bottom of the blog (in the footer of every page).

Your sidebar, and the gadgets you add, appear on every page of your blog.

There are no end of gadgets; if you are talented you can even make your own. Two of the most popular ones are "About Me" and "Archive," which are include by default in new blogs.

These and other gadgets can add tremendous value to your blog, helping your readers to find content that interests them. That makes your blog more useful and fun, which over time translates into more readers and followers.

However, these benefits do not come free. Consider well the hidden costs of adding gadgets.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Blog title and tagline

They introduce and frame your blog. New readers read or skip your blog because of them.

Are you getting full value out of your title and tagline?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Search-results pages

Searching your blog for a word or a phrase in Blogger's navbar (or from Blogger's sidebar search gadget) generates a dynamic page of those posts that include the search phrase.

The results of this search take the familiar form of all of Blogger's dynamic pages: Posts, in reverse order, spilling automatically into archived pages if needed.

But there is a big catch. Ironically for a company that is synonymous with search, this feature does not work reliably or predictably and Blogger seems unable to fix it.

(Check out Google's Custom Search as an alternative.)

« Static pages Index Header, title & tagline »

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Static pages

In the beginning was the blog, made of posts.

Archive and label-search pages helped readers to find the posts they liked.

In late 2009, in response to popular demand, Blogger added static pages: Blog pages that do not comprise any posts at all.

Typical uses include an "about this blog" page, or an extended profile of the blog author, or an index of blog content.

Blogs are limited to no more than 20 static pages each.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Label-search pages

In the begining the blog page comprised blog posts. It was good, but we needed more.

Labels, and their related search pages, provide one of the most useful and powerful features of Blogger blogs: the ability to characterize posts, and to group like posts together on a separate page.

This is something you can't do using Blogger's static pages feature.