Sunday, December 18, 2005

RSS and the site

RSS has been a love/hate thing on; the users love it, and I hate it. "But Gord, why do you hate RSS?" Glad you asked, imaginary person.

The RSS feed on the site is created using a script that queries the database and requests the previous news items (I think it's 15). Then the script writes out an XML file for the feed. Sounds simple, right? Well, we used to generate the RSS feed every time we submitted news, but there were two problems. Problem 1: the script took too long to generate the XML because it was combined with a number of other scripts that work behind-the-scenes when we post news on the site. Problem 2: other DVD sites were using our news feed to alert them of announcements, then they were posting about it. The solution was to set up a scheduled task; it would run the script every 6 hours. That became a problem when the scheduled task died without any warning. I would get emails saying, "Hey, your feed hasn't been updated in ____ days!" I would swear and then fix the problem. Finally I had enough and removed the feed (back in Sept). Somehow, even after I deleted the scheduled task, the feed updated a few times.

I took a look at the problem today, and I think I think I fixed it. The feed should be updated every 6 hours, but 15 mins after the update I'm running another scheduled task that checks and makes sure the feed is valid. If it's not valid then I'll get an email, and I can fix it, hopefully before anyone complains (it's only 15 mins, so it should be fine).

The RSS feed page has returned to the site, and the feed is active (and update-to-date). We also have a feed for the blog (which Tessa asked about in the comments of a previous post).

Site News feed:
Blog feed:

Hopefully this works and I can say that RSS is a love/love thing :D


At December 19, 2005 5:04 AM, Blogger Manda said...

Yay! Thank you kindly. :-)

At December 19, 2005 8:04 AM, Blogger Yannick said...

Thanks a bunch for working on the RSS feed. I am one of those who keeps bugging you about it. I must prefer having a feed for a site than trying to browse a whole bunch of site over the net. Keep up the good work and I hope that the RSS feed is now up for good :)

At December 19, 2005 11:16 AM, Blogger Tannerman said...

Thanks for getting the feed to work once again!

At December 19, 2005 11:29 AM, Anonymous Paul K. Bisson said...

The return of the RSS feed - good news. Thanks, Gord. And welcome back.

At December 19, 2005 12:25 PM, Anonymous Michele said...

Just want to say Yay! the RSS is back. Yes, we do love it.

At December 19, 2005 4:36 PM, Anonymous JuryDuty said...

SO glad the RSS feed is back! I love reading the news as it comes and this will ensure I can jump to it right away. Thank you!


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