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Friday, April 20, 2007

A Fix for Screwy Blogger Feed Dates

After updating all 135+ of this blog's posts yesterday with the new Blogger's much-hyped "label" feature, I discovered, much to my annoyance, that Blogger's native feed now defaults to updated rather than published order — that is, feed contents are sorted by the date on which posts are modified not by when they were created!

For New Blogger users, unfortunately, this means that every time you make the slightest change to a post, including fixing a typo or correcting a broken link, it will jump to the top of your feed — regardless of how old or obsolete it is. If you do a batch of changes as I did yesterday, your feed will be a jumbled mess of outdated posts. If you subscribe to other people's Blogger feeds, you'll be seeing lots of recycled posts.

When I emailed FeedBurner about this, they informed me they can do nothing about how Blogger sequences posts. FeedBurner just grabs the original Blogger feed and reflects what's already there.

The fix lies primarily with Blogger, and involves a code tweak to your template. A quick Google search unearths lots of advice. The article that I found most helpful is this one from Kato Katonian, though I still had to comment out a couple of other lines in my template's header before his solution would work. Essentially, you need to change the feed reference in your blog's metadata to point to http://yourblogname.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?orderby=published.

Once I made this change to my template, my native Blogger feed (Atom format) started working correctly, but FeedBurner (the more popular RSS format) still wouldn't pick up the new date sequence. That proved easy to fix, with a quick visit to FeedBurner to update the native feed address. (Click Edit Feed Details and paste the corrected address.)

Other proposed solutions include an inventive gizmo from a Yahoo-owned Web 2.0 feed aggregator named Pipes. This tool lets you bring in any feed and output it in corrected date order, among many other things. It may help with correcting other screwed up Blogger feeds, though using it to fix your own feed would require current subscribers to re-subscribe.

If you have found other fixes, please drop a comment here.


emmapeelDallas said...

Wow, your site is great! I linked here from TJ, and I'll be back.

Thank you!


Pam said...

Thanks Judi. Much appreciated :-)

Kato said...

I'm glad you found my write up easy to read. Out of curiosity, what else did you have to comment out to get it to work?

Pam said...

I can't remember now, to be honest, Kato. I've been immersed in converting my own blog's template to the new Blogger, which I just finally completed this morning! What an ordeal.

WebStractions said...

In Classic, I copied and pasted what Blogger spit out for the $BlogMetadata$ variable into my template and removed references to the native RSS and Atom feeds from Blogger. Replaced it with just the Feedburner Url in its place (this is recommended by Feedburner). So I guess all I have to do now is edit my feed url there. Kewl!


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