Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002


Sam Ruby talks about a Apache modification which allows only parts of feeds to be downloaded instead of the whole thing. This makes sense – let’s say I have a feed with 10 items and post once a day. Joe User with his feed reader polls that feed once a day. Each day, he pulls down 15 items, even though only one of those is a new. The other 9 are wasted bandwidth. So, this modification only sends the new entries, which would result in much more efficient use of bandwidth.
The downside is that you have to be running a server with Apache 2 running, and be able to modify it – not good for people like me on virtual servers. But this got me thinking – can’t this be done at the application level?
The big bloggling systems like MT and WordPress all now support dynamic generation of feeds. If a feed reader includes an If-Modified-Since header in its request with the time it last polled, then presumably the application can dynamically generate a feed which only includes the items added or modified since that date. WordPress does do this with the addition of a patch and one which takes advantage of the Apache patch, if you have it.
A plugin/modification for MT would be nice though.

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