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I'm confused!

Posted on 2008-06-18
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Last Modified: 2013-11-18
I am using a program called RSSEditor... I created the article, uploaded it, and when I go to display it, it's garbage (see http://votemarkmays.com RSS feed).

What's wrong?
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Question by:rmmarsh
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Expert Comment

by:Andres Perales
Comment Utility
What you are seeing is not garbage it is the return xml code used to create the feed...basically if one wanted to subscribe to your rss feed then they would just copy the link of the rss feed to their rss reader and then they would see what you want them too.

I added that rss feed to my reader and it displays correctly.

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Accepted Solution

by:
hielo earned 250 total points
Comment Utility
Confused indeed! (no offense). An RSS file is an XML file with a well defined set of tags. It is NOT HTML, meaning it is NOT intended to be viewed directly via a browser. There are "special" programs intended to read/understand the tags you supply on your RSS feed and render the content in a user friendly format.

To see that your RSS feed is NOT "garbage", you could install an rss reader extension in firefox and subscribe to your own rss feed. In this case, that extension IS the "special program" I was referring to. You will see how the information of your feed is rendered differently from what you see by accessing it directly via the url.

If you have the Opera browser, it already has a built-in rss reader, so you would just need to subscribe to your feed.
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Author Comment

by:rmmarsh
Comment Utility
This is what I see in Opera...

Mark Mays for U.S. Congress The lastest news on the Mark Mays for U.S. Congress campaign Wed, 18 Jun 2008 08:14:24 -0700 http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Chad Radock Washington State Politics 1440 RSSeditor v0.9.54 (http://www.rss-info.com) New Entry "We're off to a great start!" Mark Mays <P>SPOKANE, WA May 17, 2008 --&nbsp; Our campaign has gotten off to a great start, exclaimed Mays!&nbsp; The Democratic Nominating Convention for Washingtons 5th Congressional District was held today at the Trent Elementary School in Spokane Valley, WA.</P><P>According to Democratic Party rules, the Precinct Committee Officers (PCOs) from throughout the 5th district elect the official Democratic Nominee for Congress. According to the same rules, only the nominee of the party can officially use the Democratic name in the Primary Election.</P><P>In the cramped foyer of the Trent Elementary school, 80% of the Precinct Committee Officers present and voting chose to Nominate Mark Mays, a Spokane Psychologist and Lawyer, to be the Partys standard bearer in the race. I was pleased and humbled for my candidacy to be so strongly endorsed by my party.&nbsp; The enthusiasm and support weve received has been amazing, and shows that people here want a lot more from the person they send to Congress than perky smiles and bad votes, said Mays.</P><P>Mays added, The size of the turnout was unexpectedly large, and shows the<BR>excitement people from Eastern Washington have for electing a new voice who can make a difference, and benefit our citizens. Its a statement that people here are just sick and tired of my opponent just going along with the policies of the Bush administration in such a thoughtless and partisan way.</P><P>Recently, the Mays Campaign has recently gathered the endorsements of the Spokane County Central Democratic Committee; the Washington State Young Democrats, the Spokane Regional and the Washington State Labor Councils; the United Food Commercial Workers, local 1439; and the Spokane Fire Fighters Local 29, IAFF.<BR></P>


This is what I see in Firefox and IE (without the error msg on 1st line)...


        This XML file does not appear to have any style information associated with it. The document tree is shown below.
     

      <rss version="2.0">

      <channel>
<title>Mark Mays for U.S. Congress</title>

      <description>
The lastest news on the Mark Mays for U.S. Congress campaign
</description>
<pubDate>Wed, 18 Jun 2008 08:14:24 -0700</pubDate>
<docs>http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss</docs>
<managingEditor>Chad Radock</managingEditor>
<category>Washington State Politics</category>
<ttl>1440</ttl>
<generator>RSSeditor v0.9.54 (http://www.rss-info.com)</generator>

      <item>
<title>New Entry</title>
<description></description>
</item>

      <item>
<title>"We're off to a great start!"</title>
<author>Mark Mays</author>

      <description>
<P>SPOKANE, WA May 17, 2008 --&nbsp; Our campaign has gotten off to a great start, exclaimed Mays!&nbsp; The Democratic Nominating Convention for Washingtons 5th Congressional District was held today at the Trent Elementary School in Spokane Valley, WA.</P><P>According to Democratic Party rules, the Precinct Committee Officers (PCOs) from throughout the 5th district elect the official Democratic Nominee for Congress. According to the same rules, only the nominee of the party can officially use the Democratic name in the Primary Election.</P><P>In the cramped foyer of the Trent Elementary school, 80% of the Precinct Committee Officers present and voting chose to Nominate Mark Mays, a Spokane Psychologist and Lawyer, to be the Partys standard bearer in the race. I was pleased and humbled for my candidacy to be so strongly endorsed by my party.&nbsp; The enthusiasm and support weve received has been amazing, and shows that people here want a lot more from the person they send to Congress than perky smiles and bad votes, said Mays.</P><P>Mays added, The size of the turnout was unexpectedly large, and shows the<BR>excitement people from Eastern Washington have for electing a new voice who can make a difference, and benefit our citizens. Its a statement that people here are just sick and tired of my opponent just going along with the policies of the Bush administration in such a thoughtless and partisan way.</P><P>Recently, the Mays Campaign has recently gathered the endorsements of the Spokane County Central Democratic Committee; the Washington State Young Democrats, the Spokane Regional and the Washington State Labor Councils; the United Food Commercial Workers, local 1439; and the Spokane Fire Fighters Local 29, IAFF.<BR></P>
</description>
</item>
</channel>
</rss>
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Author Comment

by:rmmarsh
Comment Utility
In Opera, when I click on the article I want to view, I get the raw HTML as seen in code snippet...  when I click on the article in Firefox and IE, I get the 2nd code snippet (IE does not display the 1st line error message)...
Mark Mays for U.S. Congress The lastest news on the Mark Mays for U.S. Congress campaign Wed, 18 Jun 2008 08:14:24 -0700 http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Chad Radock Washington State Politics 1440 RSSeditor v0.9.54 (http://www.rss-info.com) New Entry "We're off to a great start!" Mark Mays <P>SPOKANE, WA May 17, 2008 --&nbsp; Our campaign has gotten off to a great start, exclaimed Mays!&nbsp; The Democratic Nominating Convention for Washingtons 5th Congressional District was held today at the Trent Elementary School in Spokane Valley, WA.</P><P>According to Democratic Party rules, the Precinct Committee Officers (PCOs) from throughout the 5th district elect the official Democratic Nominee for Congress. According to the same rules, only the nominee of the party can officially use the Democratic name in the Primary Election.</P><P>In the cramped foyer of the Trent Elementary school, 80% of the Precinct Committee Officers present and voting chose to Nominate Mark Mays, a Spokane Psychologist and Lawyer, to be the Partys standard bearer in the race. I was pleased and humbled for my candidacy to be so strongly endorsed by my party.&nbsp; The enthusiasm and support weve received has been amazing, and shows that people here want a lot more from the person they send to Congress than perky smiles and bad votes, said Mays.</P><P>Mays added, The size of the turnout was unexpectedly large, and shows the<BR>excitement people from Eastern Washington have for electing a new voice who can make a difference, and benefit our citizens. Its a statement that people here are just sick and tired of my opponent just going along with the policies of the Bush administration in such a thoughtless and partisan way.</P><P>Recently, the Mays Campaign has recently gathered the endorsements of the Spokane County Central Democratic Committee; the Washington State Young Democrats, the Spokane Regional and the Washington State Labor Councils; the United Food Commercial Workers, local 1439; and the Spokane Fire Fighters Local 29, IAFF.<BR></P>
 

=====================================================================
 
 

        This XML file does not appear to have any style information associated with it. The document tree is shown below.

      



	<rss version="2.0">



	<channel>

<title>Mark Mays for U.S. Congress</title>



	<description>

The lastest news on the Mark Mays for U.S. Congress campaign

</description>

<pubDate>Wed, 18 Jun 2008 08:14:24 -0700</pubDate>

<docs>http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss</docs>

<managingEditor>Chad Radock</managingEditor>

<category>Washington State Politics</category>

<ttl>1440</ttl>

<generator>RSSeditor v0.9.54 (http://www.rss-info.com)</generator>



	<item>

<title>New Entry</title>

<description></description>

</item>



	<item>

<title>"We're off to a great start!"</title>

<author>Mark Mays</author>



	<description>

<P>SPOKANE, WA May 17, 2008 --&nbsp; Our campaign has gotten off to a great start, exclaimed Mays!&nbsp; The Democratic Nominating Convention for Washingtons 5th Congressional District was held today at the Trent Elementary School in Spokane Valley, WA.</P><P>According to Democratic Party rules, the Precinct Committee Officers (PCOs) from throughout the 5th district elect the official Democratic Nominee for Congress. According to the same rules, only the nominee of the party can officially use the Democratic name in the Primary Election.</P><P>In the cramped foyer of the Trent Elementary school, 80% of the Precinct Committee Officers present and voting chose to Nominate Mark Mays, a Spokane Psychologist and Lawyer, to be the Partys standard bearer in the race. I was pleased and humbled for my candidacy to be so strongly endorsed by my party.&nbsp; The enthusiasm and support weve received has been amazing, and shows that people here want a lot more from the person they send to Congress than perky smiles and bad votes, said Mays.</P><P>Mays added, The size of the turnout was unexpectedly large, and shows the<BR>excitement people from Eastern Washington have for electing a new voice who can make a difference, and benefit our citizens. Its a statement that people here are just sick and tired of my opponent just going along with the policies of the Bush administration in such a thoughtless and partisan way.</P><P>Recently, the Mays Campaign has recently gathered the endorsements of the Spokane County Central Democratic Committee; the Washington State Young Democrats, the Spokane Regional and the Washington State Labor Councils; the United Food Commercial Workers, local 1439; and the Spokane Fire Fighters Local 29, IAFF.<BR></P>

</description>

</item>

</channel>

</rss>

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Assisted Solution

by:Andres Perales
Andres Perales earned 250 total points
Comment Utility
Again you need to insert your rss link into a rss reader so this link

http://votemarkmays.com/RSS1.xml

into your reader...more information about RSS here

http://www.rss-specifications.com/rss-readers.htm


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Author Comment

by:rmmarsh
Comment Utility
peralesa:  I thought "all" browsers had built-in RSS readers... not so?  I can see the article, but it's not formatted... it shows the HTML tags... why?
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Expert Comment

by:hielo
Comment Utility
>>This is what I see in Opera
It sounds like you are typing the url to your rss feed in the ADDRESS bar of Opera. That is NOT what you need to do. On the top menus of Opera, you should see a Feed > Manage Feeds > Add option. You then provide the url to your feed and enjoy.
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Expert Comment

by:hielo
Comment Utility
>> I thought "all" browsers had built-in RSS readers
NO!
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Author Comment

by:rmmarsh
Comment Utility
That's what I did... I have subscribed to the feed, I get the list of feeds, and click on the last one... it displays the link to the article, I click on it and get the HTML document un-formatted...  the same thing happens in the other two browsers... the list of articles is there, but when I click on the article to view it, I get raw XML...

Something ain't right! (but I don't know what it is) :D
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Expert Comment

by:hielo
Comment Utility
The only "issue" I see with your Feed is the <link> in you <item> nodes:
<item>
  <title>McMorris-Rogers Puts Washington Politics Before Working Families</title>
  <link>http://www.votemarkmays.com/download/rss3.xml</link>
  <description>Cathy McMorris-Rogers chooses her friends in Washington over her constituents here at home.</description>
  <pubDate>Wed, 18 Jun 2008 13:45:12 UT</pubDate>
  </item>

It is pointing to an xml, but typically it would point to a webpage, not an xml file.
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LVL 82

Expert Comment

by:hielo
Comment Utility
Imagine that you are visiting some news-like website where you see "short articles" pertaining to some topics. Typically you would see an "introductory" description with a link that says "Read more...". That "Read more" is a link to a webpage where you will find the full article. In your feed, <link>http://www.votemarkmays.com/download/rss3.xml</link> should be the link to the WEB PAGE that has the full article, not to another xml file.
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Expert Comment

by:Andres Perales
Comment Utility
the rss readers are not built into the browser they are simply additions or add-ins that come with the browser that let you subscribe to it...
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Author Comment

by:rmmarsh
Comment Utility
hielo... that's the problem!  OK... one more question:  is there a RSS Editor out there that will not only build the RSS XML properly, but also allow me to edit the article and upload both to the proper directories?
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Expert Comment

by:hielo
Comment Utility
>>but also allow me to edit the article
If you are referring to the WEB PAGE article, I never encountered such tool. Typically if the article is extensive you would have a webpage and the like would point to that webpage. However, if the article is not too extensive, you would provide the full article withing the <description> of your <item>. That way your subscribers would immediately read your article on their rss feed reader without having to request the webpage from a web server.
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Expert Comment

by:Ray Paseur
Comment Utility
Hi, RMMarsh.  I've been working with RSS ever since iTunes Podcasting became prevalent.  From the message traffic above it looks like you're doing most everything right but you might be able to use a code example, and I'll post one for you here.  Since you're on an Apache server, you probably have PHP available and it can make your publishing life easy.  

My usual implementation of RSS for my non-technical clients works this way: (1) We set up a directory (call it "/news/") and they use Dreamweaver or some similar tool to add news articles to the directory. (2) We have a cron job that runs every fifteen minutes or so.  It checks the directory for changes.   If there are any changes, it updates the RSS feed with the new date and time.  Subscribers get the news automatically.  Works like a charm.

You might want to do a quick read on RSS and Atom.  Links abound here:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=RSS+Reader

HTH, ~Ray
<?php // rss_generator.php

// A CUSTOMIZABLE RSS GENERATOR TO NOTIFY YOU OF CHANGES TO A DIRECTORY

// RUN THIS MODULE AS A CRON JOB

// IT EXAMINES THE CONTENTS OF ITS DIRECTORY AND CHECKS FOR CHANGES

// IF THE DIRECTORY HAS CHANGED, IT POSTS A NEW RSS XML FILE

//
 
 

// DATA FIELDS FOR THE RSS FEED XML (IMAGE VARIABLES ARE OPTIONAL - DELETE IF NOT NEEDED)

$pubDate			= date('D, d M Y H:i:s T');
 

$channel_title		= "National Trust Community Investment Corporation News";

$channel_link		= "http://www.NTCICFunds.com/";

$channel_description= "NTCIC makes equity investments in real estate projects that qualify for historic tax credits.";
 

$image_url			= 'http://NTCICFunds.com/images/ntcic_rss_logo.png';

$image_title		= 'NTCIC Web Site';

$image_link			= $channel_link;
 

$item_title			= "NTCIC News Updated on $pubDate!";

$item_link			= "http://www.NTCICFunds.com/news/";

$item_description	= "The RSS Feed from www.NTCICFunds.com has been updated.";
 
 

// FILE NAMES FOR THE CHECKSUM AND RSS FEED (MUST START 'rss_')

$rss_check_file		= 'rss_checksum.txt';

$rss_feed_file		= 'rss_feed.xml';
 
 

// OPTIONAL EMAIL ADDRESS FOR DIRECT NOTIFICATION

$email_address		= 'Ray@MyWebSite.com';
 
 

/* ************************************************************************* */

function dir_list($dir) {

	if ($dir[strlen($dir)-1] != '/') $dir .= '/';

	if (!is_dir($dir)) { return array(); }
 

	$dir_handle  = opendir($dir);

	$dir_objects = array();

	while ($object = readdir($dir_handle))

		if (!in_array($object, array('.','..'))) {

			$filename    = $dir . $object;

			$file_object = array (

				'name' => $object,

 				'size' => filesize($filename),

				'type' => filetype($filename),

				'time' => date("Y-m-d H:i:s", filemtime($filename))

			);

		$dir_objects[] = $file_object;

	}

return $dir_objects;

}

/* ************************************************************************* */
 

/* ************************************************************************* */

function make_rss() {
 

	global		$channel_title,	$channel_link,	$channel_description;

	global		$image_title,	$image_link,	$image_url;

	global		$item_title,	$item_link,		$item_description;

	global		$pubDate;
 

	$rss_data	= '';
 

	$rss_data	.= '<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>' . "\n";

	$rss_data	.= '<rss version="2.0" xmlns:media="http://search.yahoo.com/mrss">' . "\n";

	$rss_data	.= "<!-- -->\n<!-- -->\n";

	$rss_data	.= "<!--     IF YOU CAN SEE THIS, YOU NEED AN RSS READER!   -->\n<!-- -->\n<!-- -->\n";
 

	$rss_data	.= "<channel>\n";

	$rss_data	.= "<title>$channel_title</title>\n";

	$rss_data	.= "<link>$channel_link</link>\n";

	$rss_data	.= "<description>$channel_description</description>\n";

	$rss_data	.= "<language>en-us</language>\n";

	$rss_data	.= "<pubDate>$pubDate</pubDate>\n";
 

	// IMAGE DATA IS OPTIONAL

	$image_data	= $image_title . $image_link . $image_url;

	if ($image_data != '') {

		$rss_data	.= "<image>\n";

		$rss_data	.= "<url>$image_url</url>\n";

		$rss_data	.= "<title>$image_title</title>\n";

		$rss_data	.= "<link>$image_link</link>\n";

		$rss_data	.= "</image>\n";

	}
 

	$rss_data	.= "<item>\n";

	$rss_data	.= "<title>$item_title</title>\n";

	$rss_data	.= "<link>$item_link</link>\n";

	$rss_data	.= "<description>$item_description</description>\n";

	$rss_data	.= "<pubDate>$pubDate</pubDate>\n";

	$rss_data	.= "</item>\n";
 

	$rss_data	.= "</channel>\n";

	$rss_data	.= "</rss>\n";
 

return $rss_data;

}

/* ************************************************************************* */
 
 

$dir			= getcwd();

$my_dir_list	= dir_list($dir);
 

// EXCLUDE THIS SCRIPT, THE XML, AND THE CHECKSUM FILE (ANYTHING STARTING WITH 'rss_')

$kount = 0;

foreach ($my_dir_list as $file_object) {

	if (substr($file_object["name"],0,4) == 'rss_') { unset($my_dir_list["$kount"]); }

	$kount++;

}

$my_dir_list	= array_values($my_dir_list);
 

// IF MD5 FILES MATCH, THERE HAVE BEEN NO CHANGES SINCE LAST CHECK

$my_test_string	= md5(serialize($my_dir_list));

$my_base_string	= @file_get_contents($rss_check_file);

if ($my_test_string == $my_base_string) { die(); }
 

// WRITE THE NEW MD5 FILE AND WRITE THE NEW XML FOR THE RSS FEED

$kount		= file_put_contents($rss_check_file, $my_test_string);

$rss_text	= make_rss();

$kount		= file_put_contents($rss_feed_file, $rss_text);

if ($email_address != '') {

	$uri		= $_SERVER["REQUEST_URI"];

	$uridir		= substr($uri,0,strrpos($uri,'/'));

	$url		= $_SERVER["HTTP_HOST"] . $uridir . '/';

	mail($email_address, "Updated: $url", "$url");

}

die();

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Author Comment

by:rmmarsh
Comment Utility
HI Ray... I finally figured this out... I put my articles in the "description" and it works like a champ... now my problem is, for those users using IE6, I need to be able to give them a choice of readers (and have them installed automatically, like this site:  http://www.mygtdstuff.com/2008/04/simple-guide-to-rss.html ).

Any idea of where to look for docs on how to do this?
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Expert Comment

by:Ray Paseur
Comment Utility
Here's the link to our church's RSS page.  Check the links there.  Good luck! ~Ray
http://www.nationalpres.org/rss/
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