Feed Manager and Dates

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10/4/2011 2:05:12 PM
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Feed Manager and Dates

I setup the feed manager on a site to use the feed from "A List Apart" and noticed that the dates for all of the posts in the feed are being rewritten to the current date/time. I duplicated this on the demo website here, but I am not sure that this is a bug in mojoPortal.

If the problem is with how A List Apart is rendering their feed, is this something that mojoPortal can remedy in the Feed Manager?

Thanks,
Joe D.

10/4/2011 2:34:21 PM
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Re: Feed Manager and Dates

I'm not noticing a problem with my feeds. But they are picked up on a daily basis so the date of release is the date it appears on the website.

http://www.fundamentalhorsemanship.com/horse-news.aspx

On the following page, the feed date is correct because I hadn't setup the website in August.

http://www.fundamentalhorsemanship.com/al-dunning-.aspx

I'm not sure if mojoPortal can alter it in the feed manager. I haven't looked at the code. But, it's probably "A List Apart".

10/4/2011 2:40:39 PM
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Re: Feed Manager and Dates

Hey Joe,

When I look at the raw feed I see they have their dates in <dc:date> elements which are not part of the RSS specification, but an extension to RSS that uses Dublin Core. The Argotic Framework we use to parse the feeds is ignorant of that extension and expects only the standard <pubDate> element which is not included in the List Apart feed. So mojoPortal needs a date there and uses the current date since it has no access to the date in that <dc:date> element.

To me it is a bug in the feed if it does not have the standard elements. This blog post talks about those 2 different date formats and the author recommends that RSS feeds have the <pubDate> field to avoid problems with RSS readers that may not recognize the Dublin Core elements. They could have those Dublin Core things in addition to the standard RSS fields but leaving out the standard fields is a bug in the feed. Even including Dublin Core elements it seems like there should be an xml namespace declaration for those elements at the top of the feed but they only list RSS and atom. So any way I look at it the feed is missing expected elements and including undeclared elements.

I don't have any immediate solution. You would think a very reputable site like A List Apart would have a good feed, looks like it runs on Expression Engine CMS so really its an issue/bug in the feed generator in that CMS.

Best,

Joe

10/4/2011 3:01:12 PM
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Re: Feed Manager and Dates

I'll make a note of this in the project tracker, maybe at some point I can make changes needed to accommodate this kind of feed. I could modify the Argotic code, or there may be another way, it looks like Argotic has some kind of extension for Dublin Core but I don't know if it can be used in conjunction with RSS or not or how one would automatically detect when it needs to try using dublin core for the dates.

Best,

Joe

10/4/2011 3:07:17 PM
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Re: Feed Manager and Dates

Hi Joe,

Interesting to say the least. Thanks for your research on it. I ran the "A List Apart" feed through the W3C Validation Service  and it checked out fine. I created a Yahoo Pipe for their feed and I am using it in Feed Manager now and the dates are coming through properly. I think this is a decent work around.

Thanks,
Joe D.

10/4/2011 3:14:44 PM
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Re: Feed Manager and Dates

Hey Joe,

The feed can be valid but still have missing elements since pubDate is not technically a required element of RSS, but it is the expected element for a date when a date is included. The extra dublin core fields apparently don't make it invalid according to the validator but I suppose it is only looking for the required RSS fields and not being fussy about the extra undeclared fields like the html validator would be.

Glad you found a workaround though!

Best,

Joe

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