Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Something new in the RSS department

I’ve never really used the ‘Excerpt’ field much in Movable Type, basically because I wasn’t totally sure what it was for, but I’ve now seen the light. Having looked at Mark Pilgrim’s RSS feed, I’ve realised it makes more sense to use the Excerpt field to summarise the post. MT does fill out the first few words from the post but it’s not always obvious what the post is actually about based on that. And you don’t get any HTML in there so links and images don’t show up.
Summarising the posts shouldn’t be too difficult for me, since it’s what I do all the time other at the ODP – summarising the contents of an entire web site in 2 sentences.
You’ll also notice the return of categories – these will eventually show through on the XHTML interface but for now they’re only on the RSS 2.0 feed. Note that you’ll only see the excerpts if you newsreader only displays the standard description tag and not the content:encoded tag. Unless you’re a NewsMonster user in which case you’ll see the short version, and then can expand it and view the full entry, so you get the best of both worlds :).
The excerpts will also display the post length in words, so you can ignore my more verbose posts if you like.
I apologise for the somewhat confused nature of this post – hearing the Cheeky Girls’ new single on Top of the Pops completely put me off. For those that have no idea what I’m talking about, I envy you.

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