Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Redirectionality

American Immigrant

When I switched to WordPress a couple of weeks ago, I managed to make it use the same URL scheme that I’d been using with Movable Type, to ensure that any deeplinks from other sites still worked. Well, for the entries anyway. The feeds and category URLs had changed, and so the Redirection plugin has come in useful for setting up redirects from the Movable Type era addresses to WordPress ones.

One of the nice things about the Redirection plugin is that it tracks both your 404 errors (in order to identify the pages that need redirects setting up) and also the number of hits on each redirect. In particular, this has shown just how many bots are pulling old versions of my RSS/Atom feeds and how many ignore the 301 (permanent) redirect to the new address. I stopped publishing an RSS feed in 2005, favouring Atom (this was back when people actually cared about whether Atom was better than RSS) and had a redirect in place to point it at the Atom feed. However, I’m still getting over 100 requests per day for the URL of the RSS feed, despite it not existing for almost 6 years. I even still get some hits on the RSS 1.0 feed which I stopped publishing even earlier. And some bots are still polling for the Atom 0.3 feed I set up as a test in 2003.

Anyhow, they all now point at just one URL. As it happens, it’s RSS, which is what WordPress defaults to; an Atom feed is available if you append ‘/atom’ to the URL if that takes your fancy. I think the RSS vs Atom war is basically over, with RSS a sort-of victor, but only on account of the fact that the various proponents on each side got bored and couldn’t be bothered arguing anymore. I certainly don’t care much nowadays – as long as it works, I’m not bothered what format it is.

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