Can someone help me get up-to-date please?

An RSS/Atom newsreader with features comparable to commercial newsreaders.
unklee
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Can someone help me get up-to-date please?

Postby unklee » Sat Jun 20, 2020 6:15 am

Hi everyone,

I have used Vienna to read blogs for many years, with few issues. But lately, I seem to be missing updates, and I'm trying to work out why.

When I look online, I see that most people say Vienna is a RSS feed reader, and to get updates from a site, I need to go to their RSS feed. But it seems many blogs don't have a specific RSS feed. This wasn't once a problem. I would just go to the blog posts page (often the site home page) and enter that URL into Vienna and I would get every new post. But not now.

For example, I followed a blog this way for a while, then stopped getting updates. So opened the blog in my browser and saw I had missed about a dozen new posts. I went back to Vienna and selected "Refresh selected feeds" and the missing posts appeared. So Vienna "knew" about the posts and could find them when I specifically asked, but didn't provide them automatically. Howeber some other blofs won't refresh this way, even though I try the same approach.

I realise I don't really understand Vienna much at all. While it worked, I didn't have to. But now it doesn't, I need to better understand.

Can anyone enlighten me please?

kees_
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Re: Can someone help me get up-to-date please?

Postby kees_ » Sat Jun 20, 2020 8:13 pm

:mrgreen:
Last edited by kees_ on Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

unklee
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Re: Can someone help me get up-to-date please?

Postby unklee » Sun Jun 21, 2020 8:37 am

Thanks for your suggestion. Unfortunately, when I visited the site, I couldn't really see how it would do what I am after. I actually couldn't get anything useful from it, but doubtless I didn't understand it.

I think I need first to understand a little more.

1. Is Vienna supposed to work on showing new posts on any blog page, whether there's a RSS feed or not? Or does it need there to be a feed page?
2. If I enter the blog URL in Vienna, does it automatically add the /feed ?

I understand that Wordpress blogs have a feed by default, but it is possible to disable it, and some other blogs certainly don't have a feed.

I know these are super simple questions, but I can't find answers to them so I don't feel I am understanding Vienna very well. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

pukku
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Re: Can someone help me get up-to-date please?

Postby pukku » Sun Jun 21, 2020 1:31 pm

Hi! Vienna *does* need there to be an RSS feed of some sort to be able to function. Not all RSS feeds are at "/feed", but there is a way for a webpage to indicate what the RSS feed is as a part of the metadata. (If you care about the details and know HTML, you could look at https://www.rssboard.org/rss-autodiscovery.)

However, not all sites create RSS feeds. It's an extra thing that needs to happen, and although most CMS platforms make it easy to create, some people don't turn this on, or maybe they're using a custom system that doesn't have the ability.

This doesn't answer your original question, though, which was about articles not showing up in the feed.

One possibility that I have run into is that RSS is an XML, but it is trying to present you information about HTML articles. If the RSS feed is poorly generated, the HTML of an article could make the XML unparsable, and Vienna wouldn't be able to do anything until that article aged out of the feed (many feeds only include the last several articles (often 20) on a site, for performance reasons).

If a feed has an orange "exclamation mark in a triangle" icon next to it, there is something wrong with the feed. You can find out what is the general class of problem by looking at the "Activity Window" in the Window menu.

It's also possible that there is an error with the way that the RSS feed in question was being cached, either on your side, on the server, or even on a caching proxy in between, if there is one (which you might not know). To reduce the amount of work done, there are some heuristics that various servers use, and it could be that something was saying "yes, you have the most up-to-date version already", until you forcibly said "go and actually redownload this".

unklee
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Re: Can someone help me get up-to-date please?

Postby unklee » Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:27 pm

Hi pukku, thanks so much for that detailed answer. I am familiar with HTML, so the link was helpful too. I will see if I can check for a later page on the same subject now I know what to look for.

It all helps a lot. I think I will go through all the blogs in Vienna and see if they have a RRS feed (if I can) and at least check that side of things out. Your link says: "When a browser loads a page and discovers that a feed is available, Firefox and Internet Explorer display the common feed icon in the address bar." so I should be able to see that.

I can even check my own sites and add the autodiscovery code if necessary (an added bonus!).

I needed somewhere to start, and you have given me that, so thanks again.

pukku
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Re: Can someone help me get up-to-date please?

Postby pukku » Sun Jun 21, 2020 11:46 pm

Hi! I'm glad I could help a bit. My only caveat would be that that list, although it describes the auto-discovery mechanics, may not describe the current behavior of browsers. A lot of them have removed their support for indicating RSS feeds (for reasons that I don't understand), so you may need to find a plug-in or something to get them to display.

You can sometimes find the proper URL by viewing the source, and searching for "rss", "atom", "xml", or "feed" (although you can also find things that have nothing to do with RSS; SVG assets will show up when searching for XML).


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