Thursday, May 20, 2010

Feed types: Short versus Full versus Jump-Break (versus just titles)

A feed broadcasts your blog posts to subscribers, either the entire blog post (if you set up Full feed) or the first 250 characters or so (if you set up Short feed).

My blog-journey hack is based on using a feed of your blog, so if you want to show your content in chronological order, you have to chose one of those two options.

Full Feed
Pro: Retains hyperlinks and character formatting. Easiest to set up and maintain as blog-journey page.

Con: Sends all of each post to your subscribers.
Short Feed
Pro: Makes short “teaser” lead-ins to your actual posts. Less scrolling on your blog-journey page.

Con: Blog-journey page more work to set up & maintain. Some formatting is lost.
Jump-Break Feed
Pro: User sets cut-off point for each post. Preserves all formatting and blog-journey is as easy as for the Full feed.

Con: Compared to Short feed, can make a longer and bigger Blog Journey page; break (if any) must be set for each post.

Set your choice on Blogger, at Settings > Site Feed > Allow Blog Feeds.

I do not prefer the Full feed, on the theory that people who subscribe to my feed don't want the whole thing pushed at them.

However, the Full and Jump Break feeds do a better job, in terms of this hack, than the Short option--and with less work for you.

For some reason, choosing Short strips from the feed all of the hypertext markup--all of the line returns and links and any formatting provided by HTML code.

My hack puts the returns back, and may be able to show a thumbnail of the first photo in each post, but not the other stuff. Also there are a few more steps involved in setting it up on your blog than with Full.

Choosing Full or Jump-Break feeds leaves the feed formatted generally like the rest of your blog, though there is still room to improve the formatting if you like. It's simpler to work with because it retains the original markup.

I have come to prefer the Jump-Break feed as the best of both worlds since it was introduced in late 2010. But it's a personal choice.

Finally, the simplest option of all is if you just want a list of your blog posts.

In short:

Full publishes your entire blog as a feed; you run that feed through my Blog Journey (Full and Jump-Break) pipe and make a script; if you want, you may then fine-tune the formatting with CSS.

Jump-Break publishes each post up to the jump break, or don't put one in a post to publish all of that post. Run that feed through my Blog Journey (Full and Jump-Break) pipe and make a script; you may then fine-tune the formatting with CSS.

Short publishes the beginning paragraphs only of each post and strips away everything except alphanumeric text; run that through a copy of my Blog Journey (Short) pipe that you will make to restore some of what is lost, which will require you to set up a free Pipes account. Make a script of that. You can format further if you like with CSS, and you will probably have to tweak the pipe a little.

Simplest of all is a list of all your blog post titles in order. For this you can use either pipe (above) to put the list in chronological order.

Once you set your feed to either Full or Jump-Break or Short, you can get your feed.

Update: Revised in December of 2010 to reflect the new Jump-Break feed option.

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