Now that’s autodiscovery

Go to Yet another web-based aggregator. Test it the way you’ve tested dozens before, by typing the URL for your feed in the text input. Wups, not found. Now, try typing in the URL for your blog’s front page (assuming it supports autodiscovery).

Now that is some serious support for autodiscovery, and unwillingness to go down the rathole of how to link three-letter-icons to incomprehensible spews of XML. Either that or it’s just broken in beta. But I love the thought of an aggregator so unwilling to get its users involved in the whole “here are my feeds in five different formats, you choose one without any idea why there are so many” that they flat out refuse to let their users enter a feed URL directly.


Comment by James #
2005-07-28 00:04:29

I just threw a few different direct feed URLs at it in different formats, and it found all of them and offered to subscribe me to them, including yours. So I guess it was a bug, and they’ve fixed it already.

Comment by Kevin #
2005-07-28 06:35:08

Phil, did you try it more than once? I just added your feed and it worked fine, both with the direct feed url (/index.xml) and just putting in your domain.

Comment by DarkFlib #
2005-07-28 07:12:36

Its seems that it dislikes http:// on the front of url.


Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2005-07-28 08:32:43

Oh, my. No URL Entered. (feed found) (feed found)

If you are sitting there with a list of feed URLs in front of you, and you want to subscribe to a particular one, then you have to delete the http:// from the URL? Me oh my. Nice bug!

Comment by Danny Sullivan #
2005-07-28 07:44:35

It’s not overt support. It’s simply that AOL has yet to roll out the actual feed finding service that Feedster will power. I’ve talked with them today on this, and it’s covered as well in our story. It’s also, frankly, pretty lame if it had been the way you suggested. People like to search for things, and lots of sites unfortunately don’t have autodiscovery. The idea AOL would actively prevent you from adding these as a matter of policy is strange. In the end, it doesn’t matter how you are able to add a feed — icons, keyword search, autodiscovery, direct feed entry — as long as it’s easy and intuitive to do however you like.

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2005-07-28 08:00:28

Yes and no. I’ve enjoyed and written things that will take any number of URLs in any number of ways, and while it’s nice, it can also be too much: ”okay, here’s the blog I wanted, I’ll just copy the URL, no, maybe it doesn’t support autodiscovery, or has three different feeds and only one is full content, I better look for the feed icons and copy the link for the one I want, no, wait a minute, there’s my target window visible, and I’ve still got that comment I was going to turn into a post copied to my clipboard, I should just drag the feed icon instead…”

In a way, what I thought they had done (though in the cold light of morning, it does seem quite unlikely) actually made some sense.

Comment by Scott Rafer #
2005-07-28 17:55:40

To the extent that there are specific ways of handling the problem that appeal to this crowd, please let me know. We’ll work to make those requirements overlap with what AOL needs.

I’ve subscribed to the comment feed for this post.

Scott Rafer

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2005-07-28 18:27:15

Now that I see that directly typing the URL for a feed with http:// is fixed, and no longer says ”No URL Entered” when you do the most common thing, that solves my problem. As Danny says, it would be utterly insane to intentionally not allow people to copy-paste from links-to-feeds, even though it does have a certain appeal to it.

The rest of this mangy lot? Who knows what might please them ;)

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2005-07-28 08:24:52

Adrian’s missing comment:

Wow, that’s the first time I’ve seen spam on your site Phil. Did a script make it past your defences or is that a manual one?

Just the usual manual sort, of which I get five or six a week, unfortunately deleted before I noticed it had spawned a thread, so now your comment is bouncing around untethered.

At least, I think manual, though there are a couple of oddnesses in - - [28/Jul/2005:02:52:49 -0700] "GET /blog/2004/05/holy HTTP/1.1" 404 - "-" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.1) Opera 7.03  [en]" - - [28/Jul/2005:02:53:03 -0700] "GET /styles-site.css HTTP/1.1" 200 5921 "" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.1) Opera 7.03  [en]" - - [28/Jul/2005:02:53:12 -0700] "GET /blog/2005/07/now_thats_autodiscovery.php HTTP/1.1" 200 10156 "" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.1) Opera 7.03  [en]" - - [28/Jul/2005:02:53:13 -0700] "GET /blog/ HTTP/1.1" 200 40571 "-" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.1) Opera 7.03  [en]" - - [28/Jul/2005:02:53:15 -0700] "GET /blog.js HTTP/1.1" 200 975 "" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.1) Opera 7.03  [en]" - - [28/Jul/2005:02:53:16 -0700] "GET /xml.png HTTP/1.1" 200 283 "" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.1) Opera 7.03  [en]" - - [28/Jul/2005:02:54:58 -0700] "POST /mt/mt-comments.cgi HTTP/1.1" 200 2143 "" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.1) Opera 7.03  [en]" - - [28/Jul/2005:02:55:22 -0700] "POST /mt/mt-comments.cgi HTTP/1.1" 200 388 "" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.1) Opera 7.03  [en]" - - [28/Jul/2005:02:55:23 -0700] "GET /blog/2005/07/now_thats_autodiscovery.php HTTP/1.1" 200 10707 "" "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; MSIE 5.5; Windows NT 5.1) Opera 7.03  [en]"

Seems as likely to be ”come in on a broken link in a local file or email (no referrer), do URL surgery to get the front page, load the first entry before the page is done loading (or, just sloppy log times), almost two minutes to enter a comment (gotta work on that, you need a clipboard extension that lets you paste multiple different things, if you expect to make a living as a manual comment spammer).”

But, Opera 7.03? That I don’t quite get.

Comment by Mark #
2005-07-28 12:33:12

Any blog post that links to Dave Winer is spam as far as I’m concerned. Nothing personal Phil, but you’ve motivated me to write a Greasemonkey script to filter out time-sucking crap like this on Bloglines.

/me mutters something about where all the interesting metadata is…

Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2005-07-28 12:41:34

Dude. It links to an AOL clone of from 1999, now with Extra-Strength AJAX Goodness!, and you’re calling the aside to Dave the time-sucking spammy part?

Comment by Adrian #
2005-07-28 14:03:07

Perhaps he’s using some hacked version of Opera?

I had some spam blocking that worked on UA for a while. It didn’t block everything, but filtered out the real idiots. Especially the smart arses who’s UA was a link to their spamming software. That was a real tough one to catch. Also the UA with perl/php in them pretty much guaranteed to be spammers.

I actually started developing a script to block spammers based on a list of HTTP HEADER criteria. Once I started analysing the bits and bobs of the header I found something dubious from most of the spammers. However in the end just got too complicated to code when I really should have been working, and MT-Keystrokes although breaking accessibility, filtered out most of them. Except the manual spammers.

Comment by Danny #
2005-07-28 10:27:38

Hmm, it’s autodiscovered my RSS 2.0 feed which has excerpts in description and full content in content:encoded – the rather odd default for WordPress I assume. Only the excerpts are visible. I guess I’ll snip the autodiscovery link so it can only see the RSS 1.0 feed (with full content), and try again…

Trackback by Geek News Central #
2005-07-29 02:29:45

GNC-2005-07-29 #86

Smashingly long podcast tonight and you can see by the show notes it is full to the rim with information…

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