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Wednesday, June 21, 2006


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Whoa. Hack, man - hack.

Chris, you'll be happy to hear that your subscriptions are serving as a nice test case for this feature - I figure if it can handle your set of feeds, it can handle anything :)

Nick, I've read your blog for a long time now and I remember a post a while back with a screenshot of your dev setup. This thread got me to thinking while you are talking code you should give us a post on your dev setup. I'm interested to know. Seems like you were using a Borland product, but Newsgators stuff is .NET or MS C++.

Andrew, check out http://nick.typepad.com/blog/2005/02/behind_the_scen.html

I've been waiting for this particular feature for a long time, see here:

It will transform the way we use Feed Readers, and will save a lot of time by offering a quick look at the important issues that is happening only among my trused list of sources.

I'm very glad that you're working on it right now, and hope it won't take a long time.

Would it be possible to use the memetracker feature as an alternative way of navigation or structuring the feeds and posts? Like asking the user "Do you want to create a folder from this meme and have all corresponding posts stored in this folder automatically?" Similar to News Bin but more automatic ;-)

Yeah.... I do the same thing. I usually realize that I'll want to rewrite the first version anyway because I learn a lot in the process.

I've done this a LOT of times and its basically my primary coding method.

I wouldn't call this a hack, as long as you actually throw away the code - it's called prototype or exploratory coding, and usually leads to a rock solid design that can be used to write the final code :)


My team has been in the hot and heavy coding mode since about Nov and with a couple of site launches behind us we are about to launch the mac daddy site we have been building to. Were gonna be dealing with a lot of RSS feeds and it was funny because I was asked a question today.

Should we only accept valid feeds. My response was in a perfect world yes but the way people have a lot of there data wacked no. My alternative was to set a database flag so we could follow up and look at the members listings to make sure there xml did not kill the site.

I have a feeling were gonna be looking at a lot of feeds. I instructed the team to only pull certain elements as I am pretty worried about the rss validation issue.

I would love to hear how you have overcome these issues and what some of the worst offenders were and if you had any guidelines. I'll be honest Id love to have one of my guys pick your brain for 15 mintues sometime as well on the issue


I've had the same problem. SO MANY invalid rss feeds. It's a bloomin' disgrace!

Even so-called 'pro' podcasts appear to hand type their feeds and often break it.

Sometimes, when I get the time I send an email to the author to highlight the problem an explain a fix. rarely do I get a reply. I often see items in reverse order.

I'm tempted to set up a forum system where I can list those DATA PERPS and help them get it fixed. One post per broken feed - each reply to each will thread the fixing journey. They owe it to themselves. Doesnt scale too well on my own, so thought forum systems are suited.

When we index a feed, after jumping through hoops to understand the producer's intentions, to attempt to sanitise it do an extent - and chop down to the last 'x' items - as also some people archive over a year's worth of shows in a feed - still.

Advice - feed building tools - assistance - best practice : that's what's needed imho. The awful thing is - judging by some of these offending podcasts, some of these people are actually being paid somewhere along the line to create the feed - and not doing it correctly.


I love the programming topics! I feel an irrational connection to your programming simply because a) I do 70% of my coding in Delphi (the rest is C# and Ruby) and b) I live in Denver where you've mentioned visiting because of the NewsGator offices.

I feel I've also come to the same style of development, a bit of cowboy code to do some discovery and then you can base your design on reality vs. the idealized world of how things "should work". I was rather glad to see that Ron Jeffries talked about doing a very similiar thing in his great book, "Extreme Programming Adventures in C#". The whole book is a great read because it's nice to see the development process, warts and all.

What's a "memetracker"?

I do the same thing. I've just accepted the fact that there is no better planning than actually doing. I also regard programming as an art form. Few artist (novelists, painters, sculptors, take your pick) sit down and directly produce a finished product. They produce a rough draft and though successive refinements, finish the piece.

Nick -

I'm already drooling! FWIW, one of the reasons I remained a SharpReader user for so long before committing once and for all to FeedDemon was one feature: threaded presentation of posts within my subscription list. I blogged about it a couple years ago here:


With a screen grab of what it did. I see your idea providing me much of the same visibility, which would make FeedDemon even more critical to my ability to sift through this info.

In an interesting twist, it would actually encourage me to subscribe to more feeds - not so much to read their content, but to see when they show up in the cloud along with other sites who are talking about topics I care about.

Great stuff, thanks for opening the kimono a bit.


I guess WordPress doesn't pingback to your blog. More thoughts on code-first development: http://www.chipsquips.com/?p=374

Why Nick, this is simply the very agile concept of prototype/design/build/test...love it!! It's been a bit more challenging for us on our online features due to infrastructure issues, but I am a big fan of this technique.

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