Crafting RSS for Google Reader
July 17, 2008 2:36 AM   Subscribe

How can I make aesthetically pleasing RSS feeds for the readers of my Web site, specifically so that my feed will keep the formatting like a lot of sites do in Google Reader?

I use Mambo 4.6.2 as my CMS and I've edited the Syndicate component to keep the HTML code in the RSS. When the RSS 2.0 link is clicked, the resulting feed shows the perfectly formatted RSS. Yet when I import it into Google Reader, all the text returns to its run-together state that made me edit the Syndicate component in the first place.

What I would like would be to have rich RSS displays for my reader similar to what I see in my Google Reader feeds from sites like Wired and Io9. I've looked into other modules for Mambo, but most RSS modules are for readers while my focus is on RSS feed creation.

Thanks in advance.
posted by thebreaks to Technology (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
"I've edited the Syndicate component to keep the HTML code in the RSS"

You mean you've edited your RSS feed to output HTML? If so, you're misunderstanding what RSS and why it works. RSS is XML. It has strict guidelines as to how it should be formatted:

This is similar to the output you were probably getting before you edited your syndicate component. This is the way it *should* look.

RSS works because when a RSS reader like Google Reader (or whatever) looks at the RSS feed it says "Hey, this is an RSS file, I recognise the structure and I know what to do with it".

If you change the feed to output HTML, Google Reader doesn't know what to do with it because it's no longer and RSS file.

If you want want your feed to look pretty, you need to undo all the changes you made to the feed component so that you have a proper RSS feed again. You then need to parse this feed using something like MagpieRSS, which will take the feed, process it, then output it in nicely formatted HTML.

I'd maybe read up on a tutorial or two about RSS in order to get a better understanding how and why the technology works.
posted by ReiToei at 7:41 AM on July 17, 2008

Can you link to the feed in question? It's really tough to help without looking at an example.

ReiToei: my guess is that the OP is actually outputting HTML in the description. If you point google reader at an html formatted document it won't parse it, and I can't think of a situation where it'd be able to block out the items.

Random guess: looking at a couple of my feed in GR, spacing occurs via <br /&lrt;s rather than paragraph tags -- it's possible google either strips or tries to convert paragraph tags.

really, it'd be easier if we could just check out the feed in question.
posted by fishfucker at 8:51 AM on July 17, 2008

Another thought is that, if this is a feed you've imported into Google Reader before, it may not have refreshed it from your server yet.
posted by esd at 9:26 AM on July 17, 2008

Yeah, what fishfucker said. If we could see the feed, we could probably help you better.
posted by ReiToei at 9:32 AM on July 17, 2008

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