Can I set up RSS on my made-by-hand blog?
March 23, 2021 2:44 PM   Subscribe

I write a weekly blog with the simplest HTML I could come up with. Everything done by hand with a text editor and FTP client. Nowadays I'm getting requests to add an RSS/Atom feed - which the blog had back in the old CMS days, when I used WordPress or whatever. But now that I have this low-tech approach, is there an easy way to set up an RSS or Atom feed? I don't want to go back to a CMS just for this reason.
posted by mark7570 to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Not quite what you were looking for, but I see you have a newsletter. Do you email out each post? If so, you could use Kill-the-Newsletter to generate an RSS Feed based on those updates. I just used it to create a feed for Matt Levine's column for Bloomberg since they haven't supported RSS for years... grumble grumble.

That probably won't help you considering you've got a lengthy backlog of posts that I'm sure you also want to be on the feed, but I'd thought I'd share in case anyone else was looking for a way to read newsletters in a more civilized fashion.
posted by scottdavidsanders at 3:01 PM on March 23, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: If you use a static site generator like Hugo or one of the other million options, an RSS feed comes along for the ride.
posted by rockindata at 3:02 PM on March 23, 2021

Mod note: Removed a link from the post; the done thing on Ask is generally to link it in your profile and point folks there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:08 PM on March 23, 2021

Best answer: You can manually build RSS. It's not magic. It's just an XML file. As you seem to build the blog by hand, looks like you need to build RSS by hand too.
posted by kschang at 3:28 PM on March 23, 2021 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Oops, sorry, cortex
posted by mark7570 at 3:29 PM on March 23, 2021

Best answer: Seconding kschang. I've been updating my feed with a text editor and FTP client daily for *checks notes* 14 years [link in profile!] and in general each day it's a quick matter of cutting the oldest <item> and pasting ahead of the newest and editing the fields (title, link, pubDate, guid) based on that day's posting. The big decision I remember is whether or not to have a full-text <content:encoded> following <description> (I do) but that's also easily accomplished by copying from the HTML and pasting. If your plan is to do so weekly, it shouldn't be much of a bother. (As an additional tip, I decided all times would end in :59 seconds so I only keep track of the hour and minute of upload in creating the site pubDate and lastBuildDate and each item's pubDate.)
posted by channaher at 4:59 PM on March 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I built scripts to create each new entry in my RSS feeds, but it's not hard to make them by hand. One important thing is to check to make sure the syntax is correct - simple things like having the same URL in more than one entry might throw things off. I use the W3C Feed Validation Service - just paste in the text of your RSS file, or point it at a URL for your RSS feed and it will tell you if anything is wrong.
posted by Umami Dearest at 8:32 PM on March 23, 2021

Best answer: This is only tangentially related, but the Tedium newsletter just did a run-through of a bunch of different technologies and services one can use to self-host a newsletter rather than relying on something like substack. I know you're not trying to run a newsletter, but maybe there's something useful for you there.
posted by msbrauer at 5:51 AM on March 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'll add to the chorus of hand build this. Start simple and validate your feed often.
posted by mmascolino at 5:56 AM on March 24, 2021

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