Blogroll Update+

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Blogrolls, blogrolls, blogrolls. I realized over the weekend that the blogroll(s) on my site were wildly out of date — they reflected some great blogs…but not exactly the ones that I really follow and read most consistently these days.

So, I updated that. But, in the process, I decided to re-open a nasty can of worms that I’d only casually eyed in the past, and I added a Favorite Feeds page to the site. There were two reasons this was a dicey place to go:

  • While I’ve got the best intentions for putting up the page — to give people who come to my site an easy way to scan the content I’m most likely reviewing through my feed reader and possibly discover a new blog or two they’d like to follow — the “content ownership” makes for a touchy subject. There is plenty of splogging going on out there, and that’s really not my intent.
  • The logistics of actually posting a page with a dynamically generated, yet easy to read and duly giving credit where credit is due, list was trickier than it seemed like it ought to be

I think I handled both of these challenges successfully, but please drop a comment if you think I’ve missed something.

Approach to Avoiding Inappropriate Republishing of Content

What I settled on was only posting the post titles and prepending each post with the source in brackets. Clicking on the link takes you to the content on the site where it originated (via feedproxy.google.com, which was entirely unintentional, but may yield some nice benefits down the road — I don’t think this introduces any ethical issues).

Technical Approach for Pulling this Off Using WordPress

I’m sure there are technically more elegant solutions, but here’s the list of how I stitched things together to make the page work:

  1. Created a Yahoo! Pipe that pulls each of these feeds, prepends the source in brackets, and then combines all of the feeds into a single feed sorted from newest to oldest publication date
  2. Ran the pipe through Feedburner — this wasn’t absolutely necessary, but just seemed like a best practice (I subscribe to the feed directly in my feed reader for when time is really short)
  3. Installed both the Exec-PHP WordPress plugin and the WP-RSSImport plugin
  4. To get Exec-PHP to work, and because I do use the WordPress WYSIWYG editor, I created a new user account that has the WYSIWYG editor turned off and used that account to create the new page
  5. To get WP-RSSImport to work, I ran the documentation page through Google to get enough of a translation for me to figure out that I needed to use the following code on the new page I created:
    <?php RSSImport(20,”http://feeds2.feedburner.com/GilliganOnDataFavoriteFeeds”,false,false); ?>

It took a number of false starts, but the result seems fairly clean, so I’m going to go with it.

Whatcha’ think?

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